If It Wasn’t For The X-Rays

A long time ago I was broken; on the inside. A teen driver accidentally drove through a stoplight and hit the side of the car crushing my side.

I remember thinking, “If I could just get this seatbelt off then I could get out of the car and I’ll be okay.”

But I was not okay.

I kept losing consciousness. I could barely breathe. The paramedics had to cut the car and lift me out.

The x-rays showed that my shoulder was crushed, collar bone had been broken, lung had collapsed, and liver was split open.

There was not one scratch on the outside of me.

If it wasn’t for the x-rays showing the truth then nobody would have been able to see the brokenness inside my body.

~
If we could see inside someone’s heart or life we’d see the broken pieces desperately needing to heal.

Stuff happened. Life has taught us to be a little less trusting, a little more defensive, and a little skeptical about others’ intentions.

Sometimes we’ve lost consciousness – and we don’t even know it. We THINK we’re okay – but we’re really not.

It’s okay to NOT be okay for a while. Life can sometimes pull the rug out from underneath our feet, leaving us in a pile of brokenness on the ground just struggling for the next breath.

We talk about stuff. We complain about stuff. We think about stuff. MORE THAN THIS we need to take it to God and PRAY about stuff.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s what he does. And he’s good at it. That old devil wants to crush you until you forget what breathing is.

God restores what was stolen and broken. It’s what He does. ASK Him.

When it’s hard to breathe, remember God is the One Who gave you breath. He has x-ray vision and He can see everything that’s broken.

I heard a well-meaning Christian man say we need to clean ourselves up before we come before God in prayer. But God says otherwise. He says to bring Him all your broken pieces just as you are. He is The Healer. He is always there just waiting for you to ask for His help.

“Daddy? Please help?”

As parents, we think it’s cute when our 2 year old wants to help sweep the floor.

What about when our 10 year old helps fold clothes? We’re proud (even if he doesn’t do it the way WE would do it.)

When our 15 year old does the dishes we still like the help (most of the time.) Sometimes teenagers show a little attitude and decide they know best. They’re still learning – and learn quicker if we let the consequences do the teaching. (Of course – there are times to remove the phone, computer, music, or activities. We give and sometimes we take away.)

It’s pretty amazing when our kids ask us what job they can do and ALSO listen to how to do a job (though there is still some very important learning that takes place when they don’t ask for our guidance.)

Honestly, we CAN do all these jobs on our own AND we actually would do a more careful and more thorough job on each one of them.

~
The thing is when we ask God what job He wants us to do, incredible things happen. He’s not going to make us ask Him. We just (hopefully) eventually get around to realizing this is the best idea.

God does not NEED us to help. He WANTS us to help Him. He ALLOWS us to help Him. He LOVES for us to help Him.

But God is God and He does not NEED us to take care of stuff.

He is MORE than capable of doing everything on His own. He created the whole universe and everything in it WITHOUT our help. (It’s a bit egotistic to think He NEEDS us to do anything, isn’t it?)

When He calls us to do a job, He doesn’t expect us to then go off and try to do it on our own. He expects us to keep asking for His guidance.

Sometimes we (grown ups) decide we know best and we learn from consequences, too. We give God a little attitude sometimes, don’t we? (And He gives and sometimes He takes away.) Yet, He’s still in our corner, cheering us on, always hoping we’ll turn to Him for help.

Sometimes I envision Him looking at me while I try to do a job without Him (which has happened plenty over my lifetime.)

He’s smiling while shaking His head and just waiting for me to ask, “Daddy? Please help?” EVERY time I ask He is there and He is always more than capable.

Some kids consider suicide because of low grades

You do NOT have to be good at everything.

The older I get the more I notice how so many people think they have to be the best at everything. I’m not sure where this came from or when it started – but it’s been this way a long time.

God could have made us any way He wanted to and He purposely made each of us with different strengths and talents so when did we decide that we need to try to be equal?

If schools (and not just schools but school is the main place that was on my mind) want to help kids be the best they can be why don’t we work more on the natural God-given talents instead of trying to make people be equally good at every subject?

Some kids (and parents and teachers) make this into SUCH a big deal that kids actually consider suicide because of low grades. Unfortunately some go through with it.

~~> When kids commit suicide over low grades… we’re focused on the wrong things. <~~

I'm not the only person who can see that this pressure is too much and this way of thinking is messed up!

WHY? Why has school become this? (Maybe it's not this way in every school but low grades are THE thing teachers have focused on all OUR lives so that's why I'm writing this.)

Almost NOBODY is going to be equally good at every subject. And THAT'S OKAY!

WHAT IF when we look at report cards, instead of working on the worst grade, we focus on the best grade?

Because if we help each other find and sharpen our God-given skills to the very best of our abilities, then it would change the world. We would all be doing what we are designed to be doing.

Kids are stressed out about how to correctly use adverbs and prepositions instead of being able to enjoy the confidence knowing they are strong in math.

Yes. We need to know how to write to get our point across but bad grammar and spelling will NOT keep you out of Heaven.

(Personally, I'd rather do just about anything than work on math because I'm just not good at math.)

And wanna know something? It's OKAY to NOT be good at everything!

If someone is stronger in math, then maybe we should feed that area of interest instead of being so wrapped up in their weakest subject.

Report cards do NOT measure your worth.
Report cards do NOT measure your value.

But many kids (AND many grown ups) go through life feeling like "less than" because a 2.0 grade average TOLD them to BELIEVE they are less than.

You are not less than ANYthing.

You are great! You have many amazing God-given gifts and if you're not sure what they are yet, ask God to show you. He will. They'll match your interests and usually they're the things you're good at without trying much. Your talents are directly in line with why God made you and what you were made to do in life.

Sure. Keep studying math because we need math in life but stop stressing out about a lower grade in math and focus more energy on your strongest subjects. God MADE you this way. It's OKAY to be better at spelling than math or vice versa.

In case nobody ever told you… you do NOT have to be the greatest at everything. You are very talented.

She said, “You mean today?”

She said her family may as well be as far away as Mars. I asked what she was doing for Christmas dinner. If she didn’t have any plans she could hang out with us, play board games, eat dinner, and watch a movie.

We saw her a couple more times before Christmas.

We asked her once more and gave her our phone number. We didn’t want her to feel like she HAD to come to dinner so we didn’t bug her about it again.

~
Dinner was almost done and it was around 5pm. We hadn’t heard from her yet. I whispered something like, “Okay, God, I’m not sure what to do. If You want her here, please show us. If not, then okay.”

I called her number. No answer. I left a quick message; something like, “Hey, we’d love for you to still come to dinner if you want to. It’s almost ready to eat. Please let us know. We can come pick you up if you need a ride.”

Within minutes she called saying she was at a nearby store (which was closed for Christmas) and would love to hang out.

She was only a few minutes away from our house. After she was in the car, I told her I could have driven to her house to pick her up. I didn’t mind at all. “Where do you live?”

She said, “You mean today?”

~
Our family has known for a long time that we are to help take care of homeless people.

Knowing this, we’ve tried to get involved in local homeless shelters and every year we’re told they have enough help.

~~> What we’ve learned is that people don’t have to ask other people how they can help. Ask God how He wants you to help. He’ll show the way. <~~

He brought a homeless woman to our door for Christmas dinner.

God will make a way when there looks like there is none.

That tug on your heart is there for a reason. Ask God what He wants you to do. He'll lead you – even in the little things.

~
He also leads in the bigger God-sized things.

God put it on our hearts (about one year ago) that He's moving us to Alaska to open and care for homeless teen center. He makes a way where we cannot see a way.

Prayers always welcome here.

WE don't know how to do this but HE does and we'll keep listening as He leads. It's about faith and obedience. I couldn't do this God-sized job by myself if I tried.

This is all about God and His Power. We are just His hands and feet.

Because of Stephen

God calls us in different ways.

Lisa was one of my roommates from college. She was called by God.

God gave her 3 healthy kids, 2 miscarriages, and Stephen. Because of her experiences she can help people in ways I can’t even begin to know how to.

Stephen is a very special kid with very special needs. He’s been diagnosed with multiple disabilities due to severe brain damage from birth because of preeclampsia; He is deaf, blind, epileptic, has a feeding tube, a shunt for hydrocephalus, non-ambulatory (meaning he can’t walk or sit or feed himself,) and Cerebral Palsy.

~~> When God calls you

it usually turns your world upside down. <~~

People are in their house all hours of the day (and sometimes night.) There’s no privacy.

Some of their house has been turned into a hospital ~ for Stephen.

People stare at him because he’s… different.

He’s a very beautiful “different” with a contagious laugh.

He’s here for a reason. God did not make him by mistake.

God has connected many people together because of Stephen.

If Stephen wasn’t Stephen, the nurses, doctors, therapists, and hundreds more people wouldn’t have been connected with Lisa and she wouldn’t have had this opportunity to share her faith with them.

She COULD have cursed God. But she didn’t. She COULD have said, “No. God, this is too much for me.” (…Because sometimes it feels that way.) But she didn’t. She accepted the assignment that she was called to be his mom as a gift and she loves him.

She accepts help from people she doesn’t know (medical and personal help) because caring for him is a full time job.

I cannot comprehend the faith and energy it’s taken her and Kevin to learn all they’ve had to learn to be his mom and dad. And I praise God for all the people who have been there to help love on Stephen and get to know his family.

I’m writing this ~ because of Stephen.

The truth is we ALL have special needs. Jesus is the answer to them all.

~
Notes from Lisa.

8 1/2 years ago my world was turned upside down. Fear was the theme for the day. I was afraid for my life as well as my unborn child’s.

It was too early, but apparently, it was time.

Some in this world would say it was a tragedy. I call it a true gift. It has brought unimaginable joy, heartbreaking pain, laughter, tears, patience, and humility.

Stephen Sanders was given as a blessing not just to me, but to the world. I would move Heaven and Earth to change things for him, but I would never change him for me.
~
I am thankful for my children in general.

David for being friendly and outgoing.

Micaiah for being willing to work hard even when she doesn’t really want to.

Stephen for teaching me patience by throwing me into the fire.

And Nathan for giving me a fresh look at the world.

God, bless my children as they walk their paths through this life and please take care of my two babies who are already in Heaven with You.
~
Monkey, You are such an amazing little boy. There aren’t words to describe how much I love you. Your strength inspires me to go on when I am worn down. The smile on your face makes me laugh through the tears. And the way you tell me you love me without uttering a word reminds me of what true love is really about. I am so blessed to be your Mommy.

 

3T7B1491 2 website

Seven Million Tears

I remember the waves of sadness that would crash over me. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason so I’d know when to expect the next one.

There may be a song or a moment or words spoken and the waves of sadness threatened to take me under. It was so hard to breathe. I may be in a store or in the library. I had go to my car and get out of there because I couldn’t stop the tears – or the pain.

Sobbing uncontrollably in public isn’t fun.

People usually don’t know what to say when someone is going through a divorce. It’s almost as uncomfortable for them as it is for the people going through it.  (Almost.)

A few years after I’d cried the last of the seven million tears and healed from my divorce, my Uncle Dale visited me. He was going through some deep grieving over the end of his marriage.

I sat with him and we talked. We prayed together. Of course we cried together. I hugged him and THEN I said it; The words I never thought would have left my mouth (and shocked that I’d even THINK them,) “I’m so glad I’ve been divorced so I can help you through this.”

WHAT?!

I mean, WHAT?!

I couldn’t believe I said that.

Those words just left my mouth.

I HEARD what I’d said… and I MEANT it.

I was never EVER glad to be divorced in ANY way – until that moment.

Someone was hurting ~ and I understood the pain. ~ I could be there for him and help in some way that others couldn’t.

That’s what it’s all about. If we hide the stuff we’ve been through in our lives how can we help someone else?

You don’t have to wonder how you’ll know who needs your story.

God leads people to each other all the time. Ask Him who and when.

You’ll know.

Your seven million tears have a purpose even bigger than helping you heal from your pain.

Your life matters. Your story matters. How you feel about it all matters. What matters next is what you will do with it.

 

People tend to exclude others. I guess it’s human nature.

If you look around you can see this everywhere; work, school, church, homes, and just everywhere.

Why do we spend so much time (and probably much of it happens on a subconscious level) deciding who is “in” or “worthy enough” for us to spend any quality energy on?  (Maybe we exclude people who end sentences with prepositions.)

We can look around and see that everyone around us is broken;

~ EVERY ONE of us is broken in some way. ~

(And if someone acts like he’s not then maybe there’s something so hidden that he can’t even bring himself to admit or acknowledge.)

But the irony is in this truth; WE, in all our arrogant, self-appointed mightiness, do NOT get to decide who gets Heaven for eternity.

Awful criminals who killed and raped people may have truly repented and will be in Heaven.  (That’s hard to imagine but true.)

The guy or girl who treated you like you were nothing important and stomped on your heart may be in Heaven. (You are VERY important, by the way.)

Your opposing sports team AND the coach may be in Heaven. (Yes. It’s a real possibility.)

If God lets them in, He lets them in. This is a gift from Him offered to EVERYONE.

No amount of whining will change God’s decision. “It’s not fair. Look how he lived!”

“Didn’t you see his car? It’s not nice enough.”

“But God, she doesn’t wear the ‘right’ clothes.”

“But God, they didn’t win the World Series or the Super Bowl or the World Cup!”

I picture God saying, “Um, what does that even mean, child?”

It’s pretty sad to spend this life being unkind to people you don’t think are worthy or good enough or ~whatever enough~ only to find out you’re spending forever with them.

Forever and ever and ever… beside people you didn’t want to breathe the same air with on Earth. How’s that for irony?

God, PLEASE help us see each other through Your Eyes. Please remind us what this is really all about because You know we’ve forgotten. Please forgive us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

When We Were Young We Believed

When we were young we believed we could do so many things; crazy, amazing, big, world changing things!

Then life happened.

We started to believe we had such limitations and we were beaten down by other people’s words and ideas.

Why did they say what they said?  I don’t know.  Maybe they were jealous. Maybe they were broken inside. Maybe they truly believed this world is all there is and there’s not any point in trying anymore.

They were wrong.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

 

You CAN make a difference.

Here’s an even better reminder than that! God can make a God-sized difference through your life.

Yes. You. YOUR life.

YOUR story matters.

ALL the details of your life matter.

How you feel about it matters.

God can do something that no man can do. He can turn the very worst and darkest part of your story into something amazing that glorifies Him.

And THAT is a beautiful thing!

 

Think you’re too old? No. You’re just right.

Think you’re too young? No. You’re just right.

Too tired? God gives new energy.

Think it’s too late? Remember. God is the Author of time. He is not in a hurry.

 

Ask God what He wants you to do today ~ every day. He will show you.

God and I believe in you.

Now it’s time that YOU believe in you (again or maybe for the first time.)

YOU can make SUCH a difference in this dark world.

When you believe in you – and in God - with childlike faith like you used to, the possibilities for what God will do in your life are limitless.

The world told you that you can’t. The world is wrong. You CAN.

 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

 

I’ve fallen in love

I just can’t explain it! I’ve fallen in love!

You know when you feel warm and secure all inside and out?

You know what I’m talking about!

He’s all you can think about and he takes up all the places in your mind.

You spend all day long daydreaming about him.

People almost get tired of hearing you talk about how great he is.

I’m telling you ~ when you fall in love with Jesus you just cannot shut up about Him!

I’ve heard other Jesus Freaks talking about this kind of life. I’m SO glad I listened now!

I have to be honest. I didn’t understand for many years what they were talking about but now I get it. You’ve heard all that stuff about, “I was blind but now I see.”

It’s real.

He just does something to you and you cannot get enough of this amazing relationship!

Sometimes I wonder what our lives would look like if we STARTED with Jesus instead of searching through everything else under the sun first… because there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

What if we started our kids on this path when they are young instead of the fickle, wobbly, unsafe, insecure, flimsy path many of us walked on through the years?

I’m not just saying to learn ABOUT Jesus. I’m talking about KNOWING Jesus.

When God gives a gift He really gives a gift! His Son is a gift. You cannot earn Him. You cannot buy Him. You just accept Him. That’s what a gift is. A gift is freely given. You can reject Him because you think He’s not the right whatever but I can honestly say you are missing out on some Heaven on Earth if you choose “Return to Sender” on this gift.  For certain you would be missing out after this life is over and getting to spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.  Can you imagine it?!  Forever with the One you love?!

Instead of looking to a teacher, pastor, preacher, a church, state leader, national leader, or even our mentors, what if WE search for Jesus? We have access to Jesus. God gave this to us.

Just talk to Him. Ask Him to be with you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

OH what a difference, God, You have made in me! Holy Spirit, stay with me and guide me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Hurting from the Inside Out

Recently I visited a church and…

There is nothing wrong with wanting a church, business, school, family, or club to grow.

There IS a problem when the focus is mainly on “the numbers” if the group’s members are hurting from the inside out and they are not being cared for in a healthy way.

Especially talking about churches; If the members are starving for healing, purpose, and love yet the focus is on growing the numbers, there is a problem.

It does NOT matter if you rave about having 300 or 3,000 attendees when so many of the current members are poor in spirit and are not being fed.  Where are the leaders when the people who attend there every week are feeling left empty?

That being said; If the members go to church on Sunday or whenever and then don’t live like Jesus the rest of the week; helping and loving on people God leads them to help and love on, there is something missing. [And of course many people DO help. You know that I know this.]

If we were all doing our jobs then how can there be members in any congregation who have everyday needs not met when they are the very SAME needs they’ve had for years?

And I’m not talking about people who take advantage of others and expect others to take care of their lives for them.

I’m talking about yards needing raked or fences falling down when the family is busy just trying to survive. Physical needs are everywhere. Please help meet them.

I’m talking about people who cannot leave their houses and this may be for physical reasons or emotional ones. Both are valid and people just need to know they matter and that someone misses them.

Yes. Members need to take responsibility to let a true need be known and then we need to help where we are called to help.

And we need to realize there are some people who just cannot ask for help for whatever reasons. We should be looking for those who need help ~ and ask them how we can help.

We don’t need a committee meeting. We need to listen. We need action. God will lead us to the very people He wants us to serve. That tug on your heart is there for a reason.

WHAT IF instead of displaying on the overhead screen how many “bodies” are present, the leadership ministered to the current hurting members in SUCH a healthy way that more and more Christians could keep reaching out to the cities around them?

And I’m not saying preachers, pastors, elders, deacons, or teachers can meet every need. They cannot. But I’ve just about never been part of a church where the elder assigned to us actually takes the time to get to know me and my family; not even over one meal.

HOW can they be shepherds if they don’t know their sheep?

Stop. PLEASE stop counting the bodies and help speak life into the people who are already there!

There is not just ONE group where this fault lies. Members need to be living the way Christ called us to live and help serve when the Holy Spirit moves us to and so do the leaders of the church.

The leaders need to do more than just wear the title. Serve the members so that the members can serve others.

What if we all helped each other find the talents and gifts God has gifted to each of us?

Sometimes stuff in the Bible seems to be far away or not very relevant but the truth is; it IS relevant and it IS a Living Word.

I may not know how to help all churches, clubs, or whatever to be the best they can be but what I DO know (because I have been in this place before) and find comfort in ~ is this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3

 

I don’t have all the answers but I know we all need to be part of the solution. I was moved to write this because sometimes we get sidetracked with quantity instead of working toward quality.

 

Live, breathe, & enjoy today like it’s NOT about you. But IF it IS…

Hey. It’s probably not about you.

But what if it really IS about you?

Why would she say that about you?

She doesn’t even know you. How can she affect you?

But it does affect you.

It’s hurtful.

You know those times when you read (or hear) something and it cuts; like it’s directed at you?  You can hear something and it SEEMS to be directed at you.

Maybe it is personal but maybe not.

We’ve got to give ourselves permission NOT to listen to (or read) vague, passive aggressive comments carelessly tossed AT us or hatefully said ABOUT us.

It REALLY may NOT be about you. Live, breathe, and enjoy today like it’s NOT about you.

But IF it IS:

If someone truly does have an issue with us we need to rest in the prayer that he or she can find maturity, confidence, and grace to come speak with us about it. And we need to give people permission allowing them to be upset if it’s a problem that is upsetting.

Being upset about something doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. The very fact that it bothers you is proof that you DO care.

We cannot assume that someone has wrong intentions toward us. Sometimes people do have bad intentions and during those times it’s important to talk if possible and try to work things out. But even then; working things out does not always mean someone who has hurt you will view things the same way as you see them. And that’s okay.

Nobody in the whole world was created to think the exact way you think. It’s okay (and sometimes necessary) if we agree to disagree.

Sometimes people are just angry at life and you are the closest target. For whatever reason they may feel safer taking out their frustration on you rather than the true issue. They may be afraid to confront or discover the core of the pain because it seems unbearable.

[This being said; if it's abuse, it's abuse and that's NOT okay. You may need to talk to a counselor or someone. That's healthy. That's not weak. In my opinion finding a counselor (and yes, I will always advise to find a counselor who is a Christian) works best when I pray over everything first. Prayer first is ALWAYS best.]

We can be a safe place for others to vent and we can do this without taking things personally. We can just listen. Just be there. Just hear someone who is hurting.

…Because sometimes it’s really NOT about you.

When you hear someone say something or read a post online that “feels” personal, try this; “God, this has hurt my feelings. Please let this fall away from me if it’s not intended toward me. If it actually is intended toward me and this person actually does have ill feelings please give me courage to speak with them peacefully and give my words grace so that we may both heal. Please prepare my heart and hers (or his) and please stop words from coming out of my mouth that need to not be said. God, please help me be genuine. Please use my life and words to bless others and bring healing and not pain. Thank You for Your constant love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

God sees something MORE in you than you’re able to see in yourself.

People go into the military KNOWING it will be tough and KNOWING they will be tested. From boot camp to battle and even after that, life is demanding and tough.

They don’t fuss about the training because they KNOW the training is extremely important for the incredible job they are doing.

And people respect when others accept this calling to go into the military and into battle in this all-or-nothing sacrifice.

~

We have a choice to follow Jesus.

And we KNOW it will be tough and that we’ll be tested. The Bible says life will be tough, yet many times we fuss, “Why me?”

Why you? Oh, beautiful child of God, don’t you understand?

~ Because God sees something MORE in you than you’re able to see in yourself yet; this is “why you.” ~

God didn’t cause people to make bad choices and hurt you. He’s the One who can turn the test into a testimony. “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

ALL things.

Some people have heard their calling and are living it. They have peace even when it storms, real help because God won’t leave them on their own to do a job He’s called them to, and they’ll tell you they wouldn’t go back to their old life for any reason.

If you will let Him, God will make you into a soldier who is able to do more than you could ever imagine on your own. He will give you a job He’s prepared just for you.

And EVERY part of your life is training. Nothing is wasted.

ALL the stuff you’ve been through has meaning. Give it to Him. Ask Him what His plan is for your life. God is a detail God. ALL your details matter. Trust Him.

 

We are UNhurried schoolers.

We are UNhurried schoolers. It’s a beautiful way to learn!

Yes, we’re homeschoolers.

Yes, we’re unschoolers.

Yes, we’re interest-led schoolers.

Yes, we’ve been public schoolers (many years.)

Yes, we’ve attended private schools (a couple years.)

Yes, we’re teaching our kids about survival, writing, reading, math, history, science, home economics, Bible, financial peace (with Dave Ramsey,) and much more.

But not all at the same time.

The best part about learning with my Homeschool Homies is that we are absolutely NOT in a hurry anymore.

We are learning. We are learning every day (even in the summer and on holidays.) And my kids LIKE it!

Today as I was teaching my 12 year old daughter how to use the sewing machine, I heard one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my whole life.

As we were not rushed… (because I do not believe true learning happens as quickly as many teachers are being told they must move…)

As we were not frustrated… (because several projects aren’t due for several classes where each one has a deadline…)

We are not worried about if the teachers would say she did the job “right” enough to pass a standardized test…

We are not focused on 10 different subjects every day.  We focus on 2 or 3 subjects each day.

We are learning to sew. Right now my kids are learning to sew with a sewing machine.

And it’s great!

Some of the most beautiful words I could ever hear came straight from my daughter’s heart today.

“I really like doing this stuff with you, Mommy.”

Praise God for UNhurried learning (and moments) like this.

Praise God for beautiful UNhurried words.

Lord, please UNhurry each of us and show us Your amazing plan for our lives. Amen.

 

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is.

Nobody but God can qualify you for the work He has for your life.

Nobody can take away your job but God. If you turn your back on Him He may let you have your way though. But remember His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So what I know for certain is that if you walk away from your calling, you’re missing out on what you were created for which leaves you feeling pretty empty.

And as for people who do evil saying it’s in God’s name – all I can say is I’d hate to be standing in your place after this earthly life ends. I’m glad I won’t have to see what happens to you for claiming to be a Christian or using God’s name to steal, kill, and destroy.

Contrary to the way the world has taught us to believe, you do not need a thousand hours of college or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to do the job God’s got for your life.

A degree does not make you more valuable in God’s eyes.

You are valuable just because He created you.

I’m writing this because I know many people who feel held back and for many it’s because they didn’t finish college so their lives are passing them by because culture told them they were “less than” and they are believing that lie.

Believe it no more.

I’m not saying college isn’t important for some things. It is. Surely there are some good things about college but many times we’re just aimless young people who haven’t had people in our lives helping us discover our talents and guiding us in the path God has for us. (I do know many people who spend college years studying the art of partying more than other subjects. You can find anything you’re looking for in just about any situation whether it is sex, drugs, stuff, pain, or wonderful friendships and other healthy things.)

Do not write me a hundred pages saying I’m a college hater. I’m not.

I went to college.

I went to a Christian college.

That does not make me a Christian.

It does not make me better than someone.

It does not make me smarter than someone who did not go to college.

That means I can pay money to sit in classes and listen to teachers for many hours.

 

What I AM saying is that college did NOT qualify me for the calling God has put on my heart.

 

Your mom doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Your dad doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Of course they can encourage you (or, unfortunately, hold you back) but God qualifies you.

Teachers don’t qualify you.

Your best friend doesn’t qualify you.

Many times preachers or elders at church aren’t even realizing (or supporting) the talents you have or the calling God’s laid on your heart.

Your husband or wife can’t even qualify you but you can be supportive of each other as you serve God in the way He’s planned for both your lives.

Time and time again all through the Bible God does not call the “qualified” but He qualifies the called.

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is. Ask God what’s missing. He is THE ONE to ask.

He restores what was stolen. In my life it was my innocence and my confidence one evening while playing hide and seek when I was 9 years old.

I did not even know my confidence had been stolen until He gave it back to me about one year ago. I lived about 35 years without my confidence. I know we can go through life missing stuff and not realize it. I’m living proof of this.

Ask God to restore what was taken from you. You may not even realize what is missing yet. He and only He can restore this for you.

There’s a great big world who needs you to do the job God created you to do. He will pick you up and give you a firm place to stand. He will give you all that is needed to do the job He’s called you to do and He opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.

Is He calling you? You don’t have to wait for anyone else to validate you. Ask God what He wants you to do today. And keep asking every day. He will lead you.

 

 

Train Wreck (aka Me)

When I see the pain in the world and the choices people make heading in the wrong direction it’s just too much for my human heart to handle. I’m so glad I don’t have God’s job because there’s no way I could do it.

I remember a sweet friend, years after we’d met, describing to me the way she used to see my life back then. She exhaled, “It was like watching a train wreck.”

She just lived life with me and she didn’t hate me. She loved me and was my friend when I needed her most.

I had no idea she saw my life and the things I was doing as a train wreck. I just knew she called me her friend.

People are hurting. Everywhere. Every day. People are hurting at work, school, maybe in your own home, in your neighborhood, church, and think about all the people we sometimes overlook like when you’re just out running errands; at the bank, checking out at the grocery store, getting coffee or lunch, or maybe in the car beside you at the stop sign.

What if you prayed over each person connected to your life every day?

What if you did?

In the morning say a prayer over your day asking God to touch and bless the lives of all the people you see, talk to on the phone, and even your online acquaintances (and don’t forget your enemies.)

They just need you to be kind and pray for them and ask God to lead them out of the dark tunnel (and everyone has dark tunnel times.)  They don’t need you to hit them over the head with a Bible. They need to know what love looks like in every day life.

Just call or text. Send an email when they come to your mind. Just tell them you were thinking of them. Take them coffee or chocolate. Just say, “I love you; but not in a creepy way. I love you with a Jesus kind of love.” Or you could say, “I love you more than cheese.” (Because that’s A LOT!)

It’s not like people go around with a sign saying, “Hey, I’m missing something and you know what that is. I need Jesus but I don’t really know Him and because of whatever reasons you aren’t sharing Him with me so I’m still stumbling all over myself and crashing into everything. Please stop staring at me and talking about me and start lifting me up when you pray. I need help.”

It’s okay to need help.

Jesus never, EVER said to live this life on your own. He says to lean on Him, follow Him, speak His name and He will be near you, fix your eyes on Him, and that He loves you no matter what.

Praise God He’s bigger than problems, broken relationships, the world, and life, itself.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

People who told you that you didn’t matter were wrong.

Maybe they didn’t say it with words. Maybe it was an attitude or the way they treated you when nobody else was around.

Maybe it was how you trusted someone with all your heart only to have it stomped all over because your lover had an affair and turned your world upside down.

Maybe a friend lied to you and you are having trouble continuing the friendship even though you know you’d like to remain friends.

Maybe your dad or Father-in-Law spoke damaging words over you – or didn’t even speak at all – when you desperately needed to hear confirmation that you are good at something.

Maybe your Mother-in-Law or even your own mom, while to your face is kind, behind your back speaks and does things that are not in your favor.

Maybe your own child feels some hatred toward you and you’re not even sure why. (Many gentle conversations with an open mind and ears may need to happen.  And many prayers, of course.)

Maybe it was someone at church or work who meant well but couldn’t have been more harmful with what they did or said.

Maybe somebody told you that you’re not worth it.

But the truth is that you actually are quite important.

You matter.

Every day.

All the time.

You are very worth it.

 

But I Don’t Have Any Tape

I tried to open the classroom door and it was locked.

Our new class has met in 3 different rooms.

There wasn’t a sign on the door to tell us where to go but I opened a nearby door anyway just to check and it was nice to see it was the right place.  Sometimes it’s not easy to be so bold, ya know? What if class already started? We don’t want to bother anyone. What if it’s not the right room? What if they’re saying a prayer? I don’t want to interrupt. etc.

Since it’s possible more people may feel the same way I did and not want to disturb others I made a sign to put outside the old classroom door.

After scribbling a quick sign and picking up the paper I said to the few people in the room, “But I need tape and I don’t have any. Does anyone here have tape?”

Nope.

Walking to the door and not quite sure how I’d attach the paper yet, I kept thinking, “But I don’t have any tape.”

I looked at the door handle and hinges to see if I could tuck the edge of the paper there to make it stay. Not gonna work.

Then I looked down by my feet.

I didn’t even have to take a step closer to it. The tape was just right there. Right within reach was a used piece of tape; sticky side facing sticky side. I picked it up and carefully pulled on the edges wondering if it would be sticky enough to hold a sign to a door long enough to guide people to the new room.

It was.

Stepping back into the current classroom I said something like, “People can’t even say God’s not listening and He doesn’t provide because He just DOES. I was just asking about tape and there was tape. Isn’t that so crazy?!”

The teacher said, “Nope. It’s faith.”

Crazy faith! So many people look for adventure in life and spend thousands of dollars to find it. I wonder if they know that faith is such an amazing adventure every day.

Some may say it was just a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidence. God provides what we need when we need it.

 

And the thing I kept thinking about is this…

It was a piece of tape.

It wasn’t a nail or a screw or velcro or glue or a paperclip or even a rubberband.

 

It was tape – which made me think of this verse:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

God just provides. He’s in the business of doing this very thing. He gives us what we need just when we need it.

God provides Tape 2

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. We love to hear when this has happened in people’s lives. Hearing how God provides never gets old!

[Please note: You are welcome in class at church even if something prevented you from getting there "on time." We would rather you come share and hear what's going on in Bible class even if you're late than to not show up at all. If teachers are upset and this isn't the case where you worship, perhaps some are focused on the wrong thing. The message IS very important but if nobody is there to hear it then what's the point? Consider this; Maybe you'll walk in at the very right time to hear just what God knew you needed to hear.]

 

She bought an extra ticket on faith that God would show her who to take to the next conference.

He led her to me.

Her name is Jennifer Drake Johnston.

We met because a mutual friend, Dalana Squires, invited me to join Ten For Him. I’ve just got to tell you about this real quick. Ten women get together 10 times; once a month over a period of 10 months. We each bring $10 each time and we draw a name of someone in the group. This person takes the $100 and gives it as God leads her for that month. Then we meet again and she gives her testimony about how God led her to give. Check out Ten For Him here. http://tenforhim.com/about/ [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]  Praise God for Sara Atchley Wierman, the Founder of Ten for Him! God is working in powerful ways with this great ministry.

Jennifer told me she bought an extra ticket in faith a year ago that God would show her the right person to take to a conference. She asked a few people. Then she asked me if I’d like to go with her for the weekend.  I couldn’t have known how great this pink conference would impact my life.

Prayer is powerful.

I almost never go out of town (and I’m really fine with that.) I love being home with my family. I told her I’d pray about it. I remember wondering how my kids and husband would be while I’m gone for a couple days. Would they miss me? Would they notice I was gone? Would they like a break from me? (More about this later.)

I went with her to the Pink Impact conference at a church building. WOW! The energy, smiling faces, lights, beautiful food and Frappuccinos were all wonderful. The speakers spoke God’s message to me in a way I hadn’t heard before. I’ve been raised in church and it’s been a long time since I heard scriptures in a new way.

At lunch she led me to a room that had been prepared just for her church group and I was invited since I was her guest. This was a kids’ worship area that had been transformed into a girlified, fun, ladies’ luncheon room complete with flowers, dim lighting, pretty centerpieces, gum, tissues, perfumes, chocolates, and more.

I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place – just for us – and how amazing that will be! We are ALL invited.

It was such a blessing to hear from these great speakers; Lisa Bevere, Elaine Fisher, Charlotte Gambill, Blynda Lane, Debbie Morris, Tim Ross, and Lindsay Huckins was the Emcee for the weekend.

Thank you ALL for God’s message through you guys! Please DO tell me if I’ve missed anyone because every one of you matters and I thank each of you for the messages you shared!

EVERY speaker brought the Bible scriptures to life in a way I’d never heard them. I’ve been in church for 45 years. I haven’t heard scriptures brought to life in this practical way in many years.

We got to hear a message from Christine Caine (via video.) She founded the A21 Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organization that fights slavery around the globe, doing amazing work rescuing girls who have been trapped in the dark world of sex trafficking. This work is especially dear to my heart for many reasons and I believe God will be using my family to help with this same type of work in Wasilla, Alaska, as God leads us to open and care for a homeless teen place. So knowing the work God is leading us to start, it was absolutely incredible to get to hear from someone God’s already put in place doing this same healing work. I needed to mention this because it reminds me how God is a detail God and this was the first time I’d ever heard about Christine Caine.

We heard from Roma Downey (via video.) We listened to Patricia Heaton (via video) and worshipped with Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe. There were many talented musicians and singers (and if I knew all the names I’d be glad to add them here.) You guys made the weekend even more powerful. Thank you so much!

We got to see performances by Dance Revolution, Founded by Michelle Brogan. (OH how I’d LOVE to dance with them some time! Probably Hip Hop would be my preference!) And we were blessed to listen to Amick and Cassie Byram and their beautifully blended voices.

~If I have left out names, please email me and I’m glad to add them. This was a life-touching, relaxing, lovely weekend and I was honored to get to be a part of it. I know there are hundreds more who invested time, money, sweat, tears, and prayers to put this weekend together. Thank you to ALL of you!~

We were lifted, empowered, prayed over, loved on, and had time to just breathe and enjoy being women.

Jennifer had reserved a room at a nearby hotel for us. Cozy beds, great food, fun conversation, and getting to learn more about each other’s pasts just added to this amazing weekend. There were many other Pink Impact ladies staying in the hotel also.

When we had checked in when we first arrived at the church building we had been given a folder with a fun ice breaker game and the instructions said to get a signature from a woman who matched the description and she was to sign next to it.  There were many hundreds of women so we had to talk and meet new people a lot to get all 50 thousand (not really) questions answered.  There would be prizes for the first several people who turned these papers in.  Fun!

The game said things like:

Find someone who has a dog with a human name. _____

You’ve attended 3 or more Pink Impact conferences. _____

You can wiggle your ears. ____

Find someone who has taken tap or ballet dance lessons. ____

(…and so on…)

On the 2nd morning of the conference one young lady and I were the only two people in the hotel elevator. The elevator conversation was quick and unusual. I broke the silence, “I can wiggle my ears. Can you tap dance?” She replied, “No.” This totally broke the never-speak-in-elevators-to-people-you-don’t-know-because-it’s-awkward rule. (It may remain my favorite elevator conversation ever.)  [I always wondered why I could wiggle my ears.  Question answered.]

At the end of the conference they announced they were giving each woman a gift. This beautiful gift was a white, soft, cozy, thick, terry cloth robe.

A detail I didn’t mention yet: My oldest daughter had been asking for a terry cloth robe for a few months. (I kept not putting this in the budget for whatever reasons so I hadn’t bought her one yet.) We don’t try to make things “even” at our house (i.e. if one child gets a gift, the other child usually does too, but we decide based upon their individual desires and not on money amounts) but I secretly and deeply wished I could get a second robe for my youngest daughter.

THIS is another way that God shows me He is a detail God.

Jennifer and I had each received a Frappuccino the night before and she really enjoyed hers. I still had mine and I didn’t want to waste it and somehow a natural conversation led to me saying I really didn’t care for Frappuccinos that much and she was delighted to take mine! She admitted while the white robe was very beautiful she probably wouldn’t wear it and she gave it to me for my youngest daughter!

Talk about God being in the details! He just IS!

 

God uses people to connect with others every day on purpose and for a purpose. Someone may be praying a prayer over you today and you may not even know it for a year.

Maybe all you need to do today is pray about life, get up, and show up.

~

Thank you, Jennifer Drake Johnston, for leading our Ten For Him group, for praying about me when you didn’t even know me yet, and thank you for the life-changing weekend at a conference I knew nothing about before I went. I pray God’s blessings follow you and that you are blessed many times more for blessing others the way you do! MUCH love in Him, Kerri

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to this:  https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9gEgyhUX2AA.oT7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTB2aXRwZjhkBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE3NgRncG9zAzM-?p=pink+impact+2014+gateway+church&vid=d655647c910acc9e5d3c8e11d78b04b4&l=1%3A37&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608020644744004799%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F96726986&tit=%3Cb%3EPink+Impact+2014+%3C%2Fb%3E-+Conference+B+Highlights&c=2&sigr=10p9137pd&sigt=11hlpbrnb&age=0&fr=mcafee&tt=b [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]

~

Want to hear about the icing (as if the weekend, itself, wasn’t sweet enough already?)

When I returned home I was the blessed mom and wife of 3 love notes. SWEET!! They DID miss me! (That is, they missed me until it was back to regular life the next week. lol. Oh, well. I have some notes so I can read them again and remember they actually DO like my help as a mom and wife.) They gave me permission to share these great notes. It is easy to look past spelling errors. (I’d much rather have love notes from their hearts than for them not to want to write to me because I correct their grammar and spelling when they give me sweet notes.)  [Too sweet and amazing NOT to mention;  Today I found out the loves notes were actually my husband's idea!  How cool is that?  God is surely alive and prayer is powerful!]

Letter 1 2 Letter 3 2 Letter 2 2Letter 2 b 2 2

God bless you and thank you for reading.

 

 

[Please Note: We don't try to make things "even" at our house when it comes to gifts (and that's okay.  We love our girls and they both feel loved by us.)  Every family has different opinions on gift giving. Please do not send me yucky notes about it. This is how OUR family gives gifts. This doesn't mean if you do things a different way that it's wrong or right. I'd love to talk about it but I won't read or respond to hate mail. I'd love to hear how your family chooses the gift giving process and what that looks like at your house.]

 

 

 

This is a deal breaker.

I read so much and hear differing opinions on many things – ESPECIALLY since being online for the last 10 months.  It’s a strange world.  Not being on social media until I was 44 has let me see the internet in a way many may not see it if they’ve been “more social” for 20 years.  I wasn’t online because I was afraid because of stuff that happened in my life when I was younger (and that story is found in other places here and I’ll write more as God leads me to write.)

It’s not like I didn’t know HOW to be online.  I just wasn’t.

Something I’ve noticed – People just get SO offended and SO very easily!

People (yes, even grown ups) seem to get so offended when others don’t like the same traditions or if others ask the question, “WHY do people do this?” Culture? Bible? Is this going to matter in 50 years?

God made us each different and this is how He chose to create us. He could have done things any way He wanted to and He made us this way. So being different is okay and having different opinions is okay.

It is even okay to TALK about our differences WITHOUT getting offended.

If God decided to make us different ON PURPOSE, then why do we take it upon ourselves to treat others as if what they say does not matter? Why do we huff and puff and “unfriend” people?

Please stop this. It’s what the enemy wants for us. Are we not divided enough without getting offended at the very nature of who we are? We are different and that is a God thing.

- Check this out.
I like you and I like your heart.

Let’s be friends.  We have so much in common.

Wait. Did I hear someone say you don’t like cheese?! I can’t EVEN understand why you don’t like cheese! This is a deal breaker. I’ve gotta go.

-

What?!  What just happened here?  Please stop!

We get offended over some silly stuff in this life, do we not?

People are interesting and nobody – NOBODY – you meet is going to like every same thing as you do and it’s STILL okay to like them and talk with them (and not talk behind their backs.)

-
God, please turn us back to You and remind us what this is all really about here because You see the stuff we argue about that does not matter tomorrow. Please heal this place. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

-

NOTE:  I’m not talking about Jesus differences. Jesus is THE WAY. I know people have other opinions and I will just keep sharing what He’s done in my life. We each have free choice to choose Him or not. In this blog post I’m talking about stuff like cheese and sports and everything ELSE in this life.  #unashamed

 

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

That’s a God thing.

These things are called your talents.

Some of the most profound words my youngest child ever said was when she was about 10 years old.

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

(When I remember her speaking about this epiphany it still makes me smile!)

I told her those are God-given gifts and to always be proud of them. He has given these to us on purpose and for a purpose. We need to ask God what He wants us to do with the talents He gave us. When we do this, it honors Him, gives our lives meaning, and helps us understand more about the reason we’re even here on this Earth.

I used to tell my husband, “I don’t like to learn.”

After years of feeling this way I realized something. I realized that actually I VERY much like to learn.

I like to learn about people and why they think the way they think. I like to learn why people react or respond the way they do to different things in certain situations. I find it fascinating to learn why people are the way they are.

Honestly, if we would work more toward asking God to reveal our kids’ (and our) talents and encourage, research, pray over those more than the school subjects we’re “supposed” to learn “just because that’s how it’s done” maybe more people would be doing what God intended for them to be doing in the first place and not find themselves in dead-end jobs at age 60.

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

 

Wednesday Letters

Wow! I am this week’s recipient of my youngest daughter’s Wednesday Letter! She brought tears to my eyes. It is a very sweet letter!

It’s due Wednesday morning but she turned it in early. I was surprised to see “Mommy” written on the envelope today!

My oldest daughter is a few letters ahead (but that isn’t a free ticket to miss next week’s letter.)  I still would like them both to turn in a Wednesday Letter every week. Extra letters are ALWAYS okay.
__
“Wednesday Letters” is something I prayed about when we began homeschooling and feel God led us to start. My kids pray over who they should write letters to and a letter is due each Wednesday morning from each of them. The letters need to be uplifting, thanking someone for somehow touching their lives, maybe speaking life, or just, “Hey, I noticed when you….”

The reason they are due Wednesday mornings is because if they need to be mailed, the letters may have time to get to the recipients by the weekend – but even if they get there Monday, it’s a pretty cool way to start the week!

The letters may be emailed, texted, mailed, but written is important. (IF they cannot be written though, then speaking them to someone on the phone or in person surely is still a great idea! We are not going to have a rule that it’s better to be written stop us from getting an encouraging message to anyone!)

This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things (and it does not have to be just for homeschoolers.)

I am praying this becomes something very big because we ALL could use more encouragement and noticers in the world.

Being the recipient of this today has made me realize Wednesday Letters may become much more than it seemed at first. It’s truly touched my heart and made my week better knowing my daughter prayed and God put my name on her heart.

I pray this spreads like wildfire. The world is starving for all the blessings that have been left unspoken.

If you decide to write some Wednesday Letters we’d love to hear from you.

Everyone is invited!

 

Today my husband painted my toenails.

Our marriage has been under attack for years. We have been through so much with each other. There is one thing we can agree on 100%. God holds us together.

God has put a love in my heart for this stubborn man and He’s put a love in my husband’s heart for this impossible woman! If it wasn’t for God doing work in our lives, I wouldn’t even be writing here at all.

I shouted, “Let me in!” I cried, “Why do you have these walls built so high?” I tried to tell my husband for years what I needed. I felt as if he never heard me. My husband only was able to hear me when my spirit was finally quiet. The problem with my spirit getting quieter was that part of me was giving up on believing we’d ever have a real, honest, deep relationship with each other.

Probably my favorite thing about my husband is that he asks God how to be the husband God wants him to be and that I need him to be. He prays about being the best daddy God would have him be for our kids’ individual needs. He’s always searching after what God would want.

And THAT is beautiful!

Today my husband painted my toenails.

This takes me being quiet and letting him love on me.

This takes me not correcting him when he’d miss the nail.

This takes me letting go of control and letting him brush side to side instead of how I’d do it.

This takes him listening to me when I tell him water on a paper towel may not take the paint off my skin as well and that a cotton ball and polish remover will work better.

This takes us both letting go of something and listening to each other to get somewhere better.

And I like it. I’d rather have this intimate time with him than perfectly painted toenails.  (And when I look at my toes, I smile about him.)

 

I’m praying over your marriage today, also.

God, please touch marriages everywhere and make them into the healthy, beautiful relationships You intended them to be. Please help us let hurts go and be trustworthy for each other. Please help us be transparent; not hiding anything from each other. Please remind us how to show respect to each other and speak softer when we feel upset. God, I pray now for marriages that have yet to happen. Please guide us to be the best husbands and wives we can be. Please give us more moments of husbands painting toenails. Thank You for marriage. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Daddy loves mommy

Hey teenagers and pre-teens, we are proud of you.

Teens, and pre-teens, since I know there are a few of you guys here online, I just wanted to tell you I am SO proud of how you stand up and share your faith!  This is a REALLY tough time to be a kid. I am proud of your modesty and how you stand up and speak out when friends are talking you into and making not great choices. It’s really tough. You have GREAT courage!! I just wanted to be a voice thanking you for standing out instead of trying to fit in. You guys are making a difference.

That being said, PLEASE Please talk to us (parents and grown ups) when you do mess up. We will love you through mistakes. Yes, we may be sad and a little disappointed just as you may be when we mess up as grown ups, but we ARE here for you and we DO get that life is really tough as a teenager in 2014. We do not expect you to be perfect and I apologize to anyone who feels like you are held to a “perfect” standard. We mess up as parents and we know you guys mess up as kids, too. I love you. And I just wanted to tell you that you DO have people to talk to when life gets you down.

Please Stand Up.

Praise God there is not a score card or report card saying how we’re doing spiritually based on our age! (In fact, I’m not sure why life should be a race academically either – but that’s for another day.)

I can’t imagine someone saying these things to others yet sometimes even when we don’t say them we kinda act this way.

 

“You’re 25! How come your faith isn’t up to par yet? Why are you still struggling?   We are going to hold you back a year so you can catch up!”  (That would be quite damaging.)

And anyway, what?! Catch up to what?  Your race is just you.  There is nobody to your right or left, in front or behind.  It’s just you – and God sure is patient.

~

“You’re 60! How come you don’t have more grace for others?!” (There’s no “grace” in that at all…)

I know many girls would ask, “What does that even mean?” SO many have not been taught what this looks like.

Ladies, please stand up and teach our younger girls how to be women of Christ! Please stop the gossip and please start teaching girls how to be beautiful from the inside out! Take a look at what the world is teaching them. They NEED you to speak life and love over them!

~

“You have a grown up man’s body! You need to act more like a ‘man’ now!”

HOW? He hasn’t been taught how to do this.

Please, men, stand up and teach our younger boys how to be gentlemen of God! The world truly needs you! Teach them how to stand tall in a world full of hatred and racism.

And boys (and men) desperately need to learn how to treat a woman in the way God says to treat a woman. Love her. Love her as Christ loves the Church.

~

There is honor in helping each other; not in stomping each other into the ground.

Life is NOT a competition!

Please stop arguing who is “righter” and start caring for each other “right where we are” in faith, grace, honor, life, (and academically.)

 

You have influence.

What are you supposed to be doing? I don’t mean what is your job that pays the bills right now because that may or may not be part of your “calling.”

Certainly at work, or school if your job is school right now, (and it doesn’t matter what age you are) there are people you meet every day God has put in your path for a reason; customers, co-workers, teachers, and don’t overlook the person you don’t know yet standing in line at lunch or the person working behind the counter.

Some people you meet are there to teach you and sometimes you are teaching them. Sometimes you’re learning from each other.

You have influence.

What did God design you to do? You are created for a specific purpose and your talents are part of whatever your calling is.

Please don’t think you’re too old or too young or it’s too late or too early for you to ask Him what you are supposed to be doing with your life. I have heard about people doing what God wanted them to do when they were hundreds of years old and I have heard about a king who was only 7 years old.

So the age thing is not a “thing” at all.

(NOTE:  I’m not 100% sure but it doesn’t seem that the king finished college.  Do not let someone tell you that you are not “educated” enough to do what God has called you to do. In fact, there are many people in the Bible (and in your circle of influence) who have done amazing work for the Lord and I did not read that college was even invented yet in Bible times.  -  No.  Just don’t.  Do not send me hate mail saying that I said college is not important.  College is great for several reasons.  What I said is that we CAN and we WILL do great things for God - Period - no matter the level of “formal” education.)

I know there are babies who never made it out of the womb alive due to miscarriages or abortions yet are making a difference in this world even though they never took their first breaths.  EVERY soul matters and there is a purpose for EVERY soul.

YOU CAN make a difference.

I can’t know what your calling is FOR you. YOU have to ask God what He created you to do. Please ask Him? Then watch what happens in your life. I don’t know how that looks for you but if you start asking Him every day what He wants you to do today I believe He will show you.

The Bible is a “LIVING WORD” and since It’s a Living Word, God still leads us. I don’t get it when people don’t believe He still leads us today. I think many Christians are not really believing this though they speak it with their mouths. Many are not living it. How can you call the Bible a “Living Word” and call God “Alive” when you act and live as if He’s not? Our To-Do lists are not as important as His To-Do List. How do you know what His list looks like if you are not actively asking Him daily?

Please, please get up? I believe in you. I know bad stuff has happened but we need you. If you were not this important and God didn’t have a purpose for you then why would the enemy work SO hard to keep you down?

Please ask Him what He created you to do? This dark world really needs you to stand up and shine right now.

YOU CAN.

Here, I’ll start. You finish. “God, please show me what You created me for and please pick me up and give me a place to stand. I believe that You designed me on purpose and for a purpose. Please show me how to…”

 

“It’s the thought that counts” is MESSED UP!

We hear people say, “Well, it’s the thought that counts.”

Um… WHAT?!?

Maybe those are not the best words to live out.

For example:

I saw her drowning and I THOUGHT about helping but I don’t run very fast and by the time I got there it’d probably be too late sooo…

“Yes it’s our anniversary and I THOUGHT about saying something or getting flowers but you know, Honey, it’s the thought that counts!” (Yeah. How did that work out?)

I heard you were grieving the loss of your child and THOUGHT about checking on you but it’s probably not my business.

The teacher said this homework was due today but I’m sure she knows it’s the THOUGHT that counts so it’s an easy “A.”

I thought about Jesus and I think He is real and I THOUGHT about Heaven and Hell, THOUHT about accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and THOUGHT about being baptized under water… but my friends may laugh at me so…  (By the way, He is real and we only have so much time to accept Him.  We each have an earthly expiration date.)

Perhaps “It’s the thought that counts” is MESSED UP!!  It is nothing more than a sad attempt at an apology, in my opinion.

Please do not misunderstand. EVERY thought counts, for sure. The Bible says so. But action NEEDS to be taken.

DO something to help someone. Listen for that tug at your heart to call or write to somebody.

Sometimes sitting quietly with someone who is hurting is enough. Sometimes there are NO words that will help a situation. And that’s OKAY.  Sometimes just being there says more than words ever could.

Maybe the very thing that is taking up all your mind and energy today is actually the very thing you need to be focused on and it isn’t a distraction; it’s what matters most today.  It’s what you do today that counts.  Maybe you need healing.  Then please do keep working on healing.  This is OKAY and necessary for you and for people around you.  All I’m asking is that when the Holy Spirit nudges you and puts someone on your heart, please listen and do something.

In case nobody told you today, YOU MATTER.  (I thought about telling you that today and now I did.)

 

Let Them See You In Us

God, as we do work for You every day please always remind us this is about You and not us. Please keep us humble and not try to take the spotlight off You. Please remind us that the work we are doing is to lift You and only You. If we forget and start to like attention please take the attention and turn it back to You. Please do not let us get caught up in how the world and culture think life should be but let us remember who gave us our talents to do these jobs in the first place.

You are our Father and thank you for loving us as a good Father does. Thank you for Your Son because as a parent it’s really amazing to know You gave Your only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. How could You even do that? My mind can’t comprehend this. Thank You, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for guiding us, never giving up on us when we turn to You, and for Your perfect love for each of us.

Please give us words to witness to others in the way You would bless it and want us to witness. Please give us courage when someone stands against us and please give us words to speak and know when to be silent. Please give us wisdom to know when we are in the wrong and please lift our faces to look at You to find truth again. Please forgive us of our sins.

Thank You for Your Angels watching over us and thank You for making our paths straight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Is He Calling You?

Instead of waiting around for some church leader or group or anybody to notice what you are capable of take it to the ONE who made you this way in the beginning. Take it to the one who gave you the talents you have. Ask Him what plans He has for your life; because He absolutely DOES have a plan for you. He’s the one who can show you what your life’s purpose is.

God is the one who does the “calling.”

Be sure your line isn’t busy.

 

 

When Life Is Just Not Fair

You like sports? There are many great things about watching, playing, cheering on, training for, and enjoying sports.

These words came to me when I watched The Death Crawl scene from Facing The Giants movie again recently.

-

Many times people talk about the coach in a physical team sport and even ADMIRE how he pushes the players to their limits.

If the players whine in a physical sport, people seem to have less respect for them somehow (or at least I’ve seen that happen.)

“But, Coach, it was MY turn to catch the ball! How come HE gets to?! It’s just not fair!” Hmmmm… so many thoughts come to my mind about how people would ridicule an athlete if they fussed like this on the field (probably even off the field.)

You are an athlete. Your life is the event.

The Coach is giving you the training you need to get through the battles you face. He is on your side.

What if we realized God may work in this same way and what if we didn’t whine, “It’s just not fair!” What if we realized He’s training us to be stronger just like any good coach does?

 

PLEASE NOTE: Whining is NOT the same as talking or crying about the battles you face. Crying is sometimes VERY necessary and helps cleanse you. There are fans and cheerleaders in sports for a purpose and if you are silent about the personal battles you are facing then how can someone know you need support? And we ALL need support. It is OKAY and it is NOT weak to need and want support. If you feel alone, ASK God to send support. He does this.

 

And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

ALL THINGS. Even the bad or hard stuff we live through.

Ask Him to empower you with the very right qualities and character to do the job He has for you. He does this.

And while you’re praying about these things and living your every day life, you can know I am cheering you on from the sidelines while you fight every day battles in front of you.

You CAN! You can do this! I believe in you! Just do not give up.

 

When I Forget Stuff I Wanted to Remember

It used to make me pretty sad and actually kinda mad when I’d forget something important.

Sometimes I have 116 things going on in my brain at the same time so I write things down SO THAT I won’t forget. But if I forget the list when I leave the house then what? If the paper gets lost then what do I do? What if it accidentally gets thrown away because someone helps clean up? Or what if I use a voice recorder like I did a couple days ago but it didn’t record it somehow. User error? Maybe so.

Something I’ve learned in the past couple years is to give that to God.

How?

Like this.

“God, You know that really amazing stuff that was on my mind? Well I can’t seem to remember what it was but I know it was pretty great. If You want me to remember it please bring it back to my mind and help it stay there. I give this to You. If You would have me do something with that thought, please show me what that looks like. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

And then I go on with my day.

If He helps me remember, then I will remember. If not, then I let it go and I can know I’ve asked the Master of my life, The Creator of my brain and talents, and He chose not to bring it back to the front of my mind for whatever reason I don’t even need to understand.

Give yourself room to make mistakes and don’t beat yourself up when you forget stuff. He’s got you. Every day and all day. You cannot do this life on your own and He doesn’t expect you to. Trust Him. Talk with Him. He is a very real help even when we are forgetful.

This Little Light of Yours

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushell? NO. I’m gonna let it shine.

Wait. What’s a bushel? (I think it’s a basket.)

 

Okay – now –  let’s try this another way.

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

 

Hide it at my kid’s ball game?

Hide it at the board meetings?

Hide it in P.T.A. meetings?

Hide it when I’m at the gym?

Hide it when that girl walks by?

Hide it when I disagree?

Hide it when they cut in line?

Hide it when my wife’s upset?

Hide it when my husband’s angry?

Hide it when no one’s watching me?

Hide it when my kids mess up?

Hide it when a wrong number calls?

Hide it when I go to school?

Hide it ’cause I just feel grouchy?

Hide it when the world’s on fire?

NO!!

–>This little light of yours. NOW is time to let it shine.<–

Let it shine ALL the time.   ALL THE TIME.

The Donut Shop Sign

The world will tell you that you must do things a certain way because “That’s just how it works.” The world teaches stuff like if you want a car you go to a car dealer, get a loan, and you make monthly payments.

But the truth is the world doesn’t factor in prayer and faith.

Today a lady went to a donut shop and is getting a car. She’s just living her life day to day in prayer and did not even know that getting a donut for breakfast would lead to an answer to a prayer.

 

Six months ago in March we left a sign at a donut shop advertising that we have a car to sell.

Then – the car broke. Someone from church let us tow it to his auto shop. I’ve been praying for God to show us what to do with this car.

Just before the head gasket broke my husband had done a few repairs for a few hundred dollars. I asked him if we should take the air conditioner parts back off to take them back to the store and he said, “We can’t.”

I said, “Maybe this will be a blessing to someone because we’ve done this work. I know more is broken now but that’s okay.”

 

This morning a lady I’ve never met calls and says she is waiting at a donut shop while her granddaughter went to an art class. She tells me something like, “This sign may be old and may have been here for a long time but if you still have the car I’d like to know.”

She’s been praying for a car. She asked the Lord specifically to please let the car have a working air conditioner.

I just went with her (in her daughter’s car) to see if she wanted the car from the donut shop ad. She loves it and is praying for money to get it fixed. I don’t know where the money will come from to get it repaired and she doesn’t either – but we both know The Guy who does.  (She’s got a job but will need more money than she currently has.  She needs a car to get to work to make more money.  It’s a circle.  And prayer opens up a very real way to get very real answers.)

 

God hears your prayers.

DO NOT DOUBT.

Today a woman went to the donut shop and that’s where her prayers for a car were answered.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There may be a sign left for you that you’re not seeing yet for some reason.

Trust Him. He knows what you’re waiting for and He’s listening and knows what you need before you even ask. Pray to Him and ask him what the next step is. He will show you.

Power

Sometimes God is leading and directing us and we’re not even aware of it. When we ASK Him to make us aware of what He’s doing in the valley times, He does this.

Sometimes I think also that satan sees our power – like what God will be doing with us – and he trembles in fear. It’s like he tries to knock our feet out from under us.  (Maybe that’s a good time to kneel.)

Many times he succeeds.

All the time we spend NOT doing the most important things God’s calling us to do is just THAT, in my opinion. It’s just satan playing games with our time and lives.

(And I don’t mean the “spiritual whitespace” or the “down time” to be alone with God or with our spouse, kids, friends… that is necessary and I do believe it’s part of what we need to be doing but the world has taught us to kinda believe that if we’re “still” then we’re doing “nothing.” Sometimes we NEED to be doing “nothing.”)

I know He has a plan for each person and when Jesus shines so brightly through some people, sometimes others are; dare I say it? Yes, I will. Afraid. Afraid because they know somewhere in their souls that Jesus is very real so the power they see and the way we look different makes them step back. That’s okay. It’s a seed planted just when it needed to be. God will nurture it and it will grow how He plans for it to grow.

Those Jesus Freaks. They’re just freaky. Yep. And unashamed of Him.

Just maybe

My prayer tonight is for the grade school kids and middle school kids to be included in service for the community and church because when they are told they’re “too young” for so long; too young to help, too young to serve, only ages 15 and up can help with cleaning up someone’s yard etc. maybe we’re missing something.

I believe it’s damaging to young spirits to keep hearing they are too young to DO SOMETHING great.

When they are young and want to serve but are not given jobs (and I’m talking about jobs they are very able to do; like pick up in the auditorium, pick up someone’s yard, maybe lead a Sunday morning class FOR 3rd graders BY 3rd graders…) by the time they are “old enough” by church or community standards, they are many times not even interested anymore.

Then we’ve heard churches ask, “What happened to the 19 to 30 year olds? Where are they?”

They were given a Senior graduation celebration, moved away from their parents and everything they knew, went out into the world (many times to college) came back to visit their “home” church congregation only to find they are no longer welcome in their own youth group because they are now “too old” for the “youth group” and don’t feel there is a welcoming place they fit anymore. “Yay! You’re a Senior! Feel loved? Good because when you come back there is another surprise!”

We have an idea.

What if we include them when they’re young and WANT to help and maybe when they’re older they’ll STILL want to help?

What if we create a class where college age kids (and older) are welcome to come and go as they grow up? What if it was a place they knew they were welcome ANY time they were in town? What if they KNEW when they came “home” they’d have a welcoming place instead of feeling “out of place?!” What if that place was a place they could unload all their worries and concerns they’re having out in the world instead of it only being a class where they don’t feel welcome to speak what’s really on their minds?

I don’t begin to know all the answers but I know some.

And when I’m married to a guy
who is a preacher’s kid (just like the kids sitting in Bible class)
who messed up,
who went to prison,
who served God and asked God to grow his faith WHILE he was in prison,
who now lives a life of faith,
and has been equipped with eyes and a heart for the kid who feels alone and may be heading down the same kind of path,
and knows how to help teens be included,
but yet he’s shut out because he has a criminal record but did NOTHING against a child…
I can’t help but think MAYBE he’s part of the solution but nobody opens their eyes to see the treasure God has placed right in front of them.

Maybe…

JUST MAYBE he’s the VERY RIGHT person the teens and parents should hear from.

Plant a Seed

Sometimes it seems to me that churches and businesses and just so many people get caught up in the “numbers.”

For example with some churches and mission work, “Well, how MANY are you baptizing?!”

 

I am not going to PUSH anyone into baptism to satisfy someone’s spreadsheet (or to get donations.)

From what I read in the Bible Jesus is concerned with every ONE and every ONE matters.

Surely no one would want to make someone get baptized for the wrong reasons or to “look better” to elders or churches.

 

We are to plant a seed.  Let the Holy Spirit do His work.  We aren’t able to do His work.

Help the one you can help today and do not worry if it is impressive to the corporate world around you.  It is impressive to Jesus.  This is what matters.

Grace

Please stop being so offended when someone thinks differently than you do?

God makes things good.

The enemy tries to take good things and make them bad and destroy them.

God made us each different.

On purpose.

And this is how He decided to create us. He could have done things ANY way He wanted to, right? And He did it this way. So being different is okay. Having different opinions is okay.

It’s just one more thing satan tries to use to separate us from each other; to make us huff and puff and “unfriend” each other in person and online. The very differences we should appreciate about each other are the very things satan is using to create havoc.

Opinion.

Belief.

Choice.

Individuality.

Differences.

God made you different from anyone else in the world for a reason and His plans for your life don’t exactly match anyone else’s purpose.

AND THAT’S OKAY.

Yet as is his nature, satan sees something good and does anything he can to make it bad. In this case he has grabbed onto the fact that we are each made different on purpose and given it a name. The name that fits right now is “Offended.” Oh my word are people offended!! SO easily! It makes me sad!

“I like cheese. So therefore YOU need to like cheese or else I won’t be friends with you. There! I’m not going to play with you anymore.”

Stop it!

Please stop it?!

Don’t you see what’s happening? That old devil is up to his tricks just like he always does trying to destroy sex, family, marriage, service, and just everything!

The world is in chaos and confusion. Literally.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He didn’t say there is some way or find the way.

He said HE IS THE WAY.

Keep your eyes on Him and don’t look away.

If you’re not sure how to find Him, ASK Him how to do this. “Jesus, how do I find You?” Just say it! Read the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible, buy one. If you can’t afford one, ask a friend to borrow his until you can get one. Ask church for one. If the church you ask says, “No,” then ask another church!

And it is okay with me if you don’t like cheese. I will still love you. I will still talk to you. I will still care about you.

Please, PLEASE find some grace and love for the people in your life!

The reason is…

The reason is…

The reason I tell you that you matter so much is because most things in the world tell you all day long that you don’t.

I did not know I mattered. Truly I didn’t. And in case you feel this way also, I want to be a voice shouting above the noise that you are a masterpiece and really worth something! Please hear that! I’m not the only one who says so. Jesus says so, too.

If you look through the news, tv shows, movies, commercials, advertisements, social sites, there is one thing after another telling you:

-You’re not the best at whatever and you MUST be the best “or else.” (What does that even mean?!)

-You need to look “this” way or you’re not “beautiful.” (Says who? Some magazine or advertising executive? Do they even know you?! You’re amazing!)

-You need to buy this or you’re “behind.” (Behind WHAT? Life is just NOT a competition!)

-The world teaches that if you don’t have name brand clothes you’re “less than.” (I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven God’s not gonna be like, “Heeey! You rocked that $200 outfit!” Seriously?! – And please do not send me hate mail saying I said it’s not okay to have “nice” things. It is. But people who don’t spend more because of a brand are not “less than” anything.)

-If you don’t “do life” like most people then something’s wrong with you. (Something may be wrong with you. Something’s probably wrong with all of us! But Jesus calls us to stand out so if someone says you’re different, that may be a great compliment!)

You matter and you’re absolutely beautiful and I will tell you this until you believe it; until God takes my breath. You are so much more than you may realize. Everyone has something beautiful but it’s just that sometimes it’s buried way, way, waaaay under a bunch of ashes covering the true beautiful you that God intended you to be.

The world is wrong. You really are something.

Marriage is probably the toughest job ever.

There are a lot of tough jobs in the world but marriage… just wow!  I know we’re not alone when we say this.

Many people share great ideas and it’s always fun to learn new things that work for other couples.

I’m always trying to figure out how to make our marriage better and help others at the same time.  My husband is a praying man and asks God how to be a better husband to me and better daddy to our kids.  And I ask God to show me how to be a better wife and mommy.

Here is something we started about a year ago. It’s helped us sometimes when we argue.  God put this idea on my heart and I shared it with my husband.  We didn’t waste time getting to the store.

We bought a ball (A 12 to 15 inch ball is best. And NO. Not a baseball or bowling ball even though it’s something that some people may think they’d like to do sometimes – Just don’t.) and when we’d argue, we’d pass the ball back and forth.

It is harder to stay angry when we are playing catch.

We both take turns talking (Toss it.  Don’t hold it.  That’s the point.  It’s easier to talk this way sometimes.) and maybe a few times we threw it rougher than we should have but it really helps during fights.

You could try it and see if it helps for your marriage. If someone can learn anything from our mess we’re glad to share.

We really do like each other.  It’s just that sometimes we forget.

 

Note: If you play ball in the store, they may -or may not- appreciate it so very much. You probably don’t need to ask us how we know this.

 

 

You Are a Beautiful Design

There are specific talents and gifts God has gifted to you. There is a specific purpose for your life that matches YOUR gifts and you are the ONLY one who can do these great things God has for you.

I cannot do that job. Your friend or your mom can’t do that job. It’s your job.

How are you going to know what that purpose is if the days are filled with all the things YOU want to do? It’s not that your To-Do List is not important but His plans for you are so much more fulfilling than the plans you can even dream of for yourself.

He wants to connect certain people with you for a reason. It happens every day. Are you aware of it? Ask Him to make you aware of it.

You are the ONLY one designed the way you are and some moments are Divine Appointments. Ask Him to show you what those look like in your life.

Ask God what HE wants you to do.

He gave you your time. He gave you your talents. Aren’t you curious to know why you are made the way you are?

I love learning about you and why you’re you.

God had something very important in mind when He made you.

What if you’re just one question away from realizing your bigger purpose?

Please ask Him what He wants you to do today. Every day. He will show you.

Just stuff I like to think about.

A question that has been following me lately…

Would you rather

A) hear all the good things everyone thinks about you?
B) hear all the negative things everyone thinks about you?
C) hear both the positive and negative stuff people think about you?
D) not hear anything people think about you?

You know, I used to feel strongly that I’d want B- hear all the negative things everyone thinks about me because then I could decide where to spend my time trying to clear up misunderstandings. That would take a long time. And the truth is that nobody is going to like me all the time or even understand where I’m coming from because nobody has walked the life I’m walking.

Then later in life I decided that C- hear both positive and negative stuff would be best because some negative (spoken in love) would be good to help me know what I needed to change about me – and there are certainly things I work on every day to be a better mommy, wife, friend, and leader. And I’d also get to hear the positive things because sadly most of the time we ALL (and I rarely use the word ALL but in this case I believe it fits) don’t speak blessings over each other often enough.

For a little while I thought strongly about A- hear all the good things everyone thinks because possibly that would help with how I think of myself. – Or would it make me conceited? Don’t know but I don’t think so.

Someone shared a story about being deaf and not hearing what people say about you and that maybe not knowing would be best because you don’t hear the “noise” and the haters. – I believe deaf people do hear clearly some things that “hearing” people do not.

I think I will choose D and not hear what people (who do not know me) think of me. I will concentrate on what my Jesus thinks of me above anything else.

Just stuff I like to think about.

-

And I haven’t told you today that I’m glad you’re here in this place with me so I will now. I’m glad you’re here. You matter. I pray blessings over your life so big that you can’t help but see Him.

I keep trying to think of a title for this.

“Cookie Cutter People”

or maybe

“After God Created You He Broke the Mold”

But I’m not sure He made a “mold” for you. He formed you with His Hands. There is not another you anywhere in the world so… why would He need a mold or a cookie cutter when you’re the only you?

You are unique. You matter. He planned you. ON PURPOSE.

You are not a mistake. You are not an accident.

~~> You liked you until someone told you not to like you. <~~

When you look in the mirror and say, "I don't like my nose."

Talk about insulting an artist!!!

God, please forgive us when we complain about Your masterpieces.

Hey YOU, God is not finished with you yet
but I think He did a great job creating you and
I look forward to the rest of your life
and how He'll shine through you even for the rest of today.

(Note: Please do not send me hate mail about cosmetic surgery etc. I think you are beautiful and I'm not just talking about the outside of you.)

Something Important

I guess I silently (and without even being aware of it) was dreading the phone call. It was about one of our monthly bills and I’d probably rather do many other things instead although I don’t mind this part of my job too much.

It’s funny to me how God works and when God works – like even in the littlest things – and in times we’re not actively looking.

The call ended with a sweet voice on the other end of the phone telling me some about her life and she’d like to connect online. I spoke about how it’s a little uncomfortable not making my own plans daily while walking in faith.

We agreed the five minute (regular, mundane, common, ordinary) phone call turned out to be a blessing for both of us.

Instead of looking at stuff we have to get done as just another thing, what if we each looked at it as an opportunity for God to shine through us? Sometimes I forget to keep that mindset about every day stuff.

Every encounter can be something important. Keep your eyes (and ears) open.

Thank You, God, for reminding me when I forget. Thank You for faithfully reminding me what this life is all about.

BE THE LIGHT.

Somebody needs you today.

Be the light even in traffic.
Be the light even in line at the grocery store.
Be the light even when someone cuts you off.
Be the light even if someone gives you an unwanted hand gesture.
Be the light even when talking to your ex.
Be the light even at home.
Be the light during school and in between classes.
Be the light even when your parents aren’t around.
Be the light especially at work.
Be the light even if you don’t feel like it.

Somebody is watching you and somebody needs to see a kinder, more loving way to respond especially in tough situations.

You CAN. I know you can. Maybe not on your own. The Holy Spirit helps us in these very times. Ask Him to help.

Be the light.

100 Good Things About You

We went to a funeral today. It is always a beautiful thing to hear about someone’s life.

Consistent with the nature of all funerals I’ve attended, it made me think about when I die.

If God calls me to Heaven before you go, do something for me? In my honor, please say OUT LOUD to 100 different people something great that you like about yourself. It can be 100 different things you like about yourself and it can be to 100 different people at different times or all at the same time like in an auditorium or something. But this is my wish in case you outlive me. Deal?

If you will do this please leave your name or a note here as your agreement. (You could even include some of the good things about you now. You don’t have to wait until whenever I’m gone. I’d love to hear about you.) This blog post is just the official way to let you know I’m counting on you to speak life into you and good things about you – OUT LOUD.

I know there are a thousand great things about you. I’m just asking for you to speak 100 of them about yourself to others. They’ll hear it and you’ll hear it also.

You’re worth so much more than you may realize.

Believe it and speak it OUT LOUD.

Here’s a sample to start this conversation: (And you should totally start now and not wait til later because you deserve to hear yourself think and speak -out loud- good things about you already.) “Hey, I’m Kerri and I’m fulfilling a wish for a girl I read about on a blog. I said I would say 100 good things about me to 100 people. Something I like about me is …”

Private vs Public vs Home School for us

School officially starts tomorrow (August 1st) at our house.

I think there is A LOT of great stuff about public, private, AND home school. Each kind of school has some good and some not so good.

I can say that this is the first time (possibly EVER) since my kids started preschool that we’ve snuggled more, had less stress, looked forward to learning and to the start of school.

I have spent days and weeks frustrated about getting to school on time for so many years. I was a grouchy mommy some mornings because we had to be somewhere or else tardies made life not fun and sometimes my kids had one speed and sometimes that speed did not match public (or private) school standards.

Schedule for many school years so far:
Hurry and get up.
Hurry and eat breakfast.
Hurry and brush teeth.
Hurry and get dressed.
Hurry and get your shoes on.
Hurry to the car to get to school.
Hurry and get out of the car or the drop off line is not moving fast enough.
Hurry to the car after school or the car pick up line is too slow.
After school snack – not hurried.
Hurry and get your homework done.
Hurry to spend quality time with mommy and daddy.
Hurry and eat dinner.
Hurry and get your teeth brushed and a shower and get to bed so we can hurry again tomorrow.

I think we are done with the “hurry” schedule. I’m not sure it is good for any of us to fill our days with stuff that makes us hurry all the time.

We actually talked about homeschooling a couple of times in past years. The answer was clearly a big “NO!” This time it’s right. This time it’s different. This is something we’ve prayed about and know that is right for our family AT THIS TIME. We are all glad about it.

(NOTE: This does NOT mean we believe homeschooling is right for every family at this time. Please do not send hate letters. I am certain you are making and will keep making the best choices for your family.)

First school assignment: My kids are writing about the pros and cons to each school type because I’ve asked them to and we’d like to know what they think because we enjoy their input about most things in life.

From a 7th grader:
Private school Good:
-Get to see some friends every day.
-Less stress.
-Easier to learn there than in public school.
-Less bullies.
-Study the Bible at school.

Private school Not so good:
-It costs a lot.
-Less family time.

Public school Good:
-I get to see some friends every day.

Public school Not so good:
-Not very many friends every day because I didn’t have many good friends.
-Less family time.
-Bullies.
-Harder to learn there.
-Too many people.
-Don’t get to study the Bible at school.

Homeschool Good:
-Easier to learn.
-Less people.
-More family time.
-Less stress.
-I get to learn more things that I WANT to learn about.
-No bullies.
-I get to study the Bible at school.

Homeschool Not so good:
-I don’t get to see my public or private school friends as much.

From a Junior in high school:
Private school (Preschool) Good:
-I don’t remember much good (or bad) about preschool.

Private school Not so good:
-Cried a couple days every week because I didn’t want to go to school very much.

Public school Good:
-A lot of teachers.
-Different levels of classes.
-A lot of room for creativity like for clothes and dress code.

Public school Not so good:
-Some teachers feel they’re not paid enough to care.
-The classes are too simple or too demanding. There is no in-between.
-Some teachers don’t really care if you can keep up ’cause if you can’t it’s a personal problem.

Homeschool Good:
-Most of the time not far from my mommy.
-The rest: To be determined.

Homeschool Not so good:
-Most of the time not far from my mommy.
-The rest: To be determined.

Questions I have when living by faith

(Our personal situation and the Alaska homeless teen place)

It’s frustrating to know something but to be waiting and not know when or how God is doing something. I am learning that HOW we wait -while we wait- is very important. He’s teaching and leading us every day which is something I wasn’t as aware of in the past.

When our car broke down I thought, “Oh well. Since we’ll be moving soon maybe we won’t need another car for now.” (That’s been about two -update- five months which has been okay, really.)

We’d like to ask for prayers about the car situation.
And also prayers for when and how for the Alaska homeless teen place.

As for the car, we’re asking God if we’re to buy (used of course) or lease or wait… We have been okay for a couple months without one because we’ve walked many places and also a sweet friend has loaned us her van for grocery store visits etc. If we bought one, would we sell it when we move?

All these questions! It can be frustrating living by faith!

About 14 years ago, my husband and I talked about knowing we would help teens at some place like a camp type of place. I said it seems to have a game room and shade and rocks or benches (or both.) And kids can learn skills there and study Bible lessons they are interested in and maybe they can earn a way to paint a brick or something like that if their homework is done… and now 14 years later we know it’s Alaska and that it looks like it’s a homeless teen place.

We tried to get involved at the different churches we’ve been over the past years but it’s only been minimal that we’ve been able to help and we know there is more we are supposed to do.

To know it ~but to be waiting~ is a tough place to be.

Some people have known us for years and know we’re for real. Some have just met us and still know this is really happening. Some think we’re silly and don’t know what we’re talking about. That’s okay. Some people secretly hope God moves in big ways because they know there is something bigger to believe in but would like to see some kind of proof or something. The people who doubt will see sooner or later whenever God moves in the God-sized ways. As for now, we wait. I hope it’s not another 14 years before He shows us the next part.

It took about five months for me to be tired of living out of boxes and the inconvenience of not knowing what’s next – but the thing is… we will wait – and do the next thing in front of us each day.

One cool thing that’s happened is that a boy our daughter met is now asking to court her. If we’d been able to leave when I thought we were leaving they would not know each other more than to say, “Hi.” And IF he’s her future husband then it’s a pretty big deal that we stayed to get to know him. And if he’s not, then I’m still glad we are waiting because we haven’t been released yet to go (and at this point I’m not sad or caring about the few skeptics asking why we’re still not in Alaska.)

The truth is we are going to obey Him. And if that looks weird to people, that’s okay. We’ve looked weird before and we’re used to being different. God calls us to be different. I never thought I’d be living out my faith in front of so many people but that’s okay also. (Writing the blog -or writing a book- is not something I ever thought I’d be doing.)

I read something once that said when a toddler learns to walk, we don’t tell him go away and be ashamed until he can learn to walk (or even run) and then he can be seen again. No. That would not be helpful. We encourage him until he learns to walk. We help him up. We don’t laugh at him. “What a silly baby! What does he think he’s doing; trying to walk?! Sit down and stay there, baby! You should be embarrassed!”

If you have room on your prayer list, I am asking for prayers specifically about the car situation. If we bought one, then would we sell it? What if we’re to fly to Alaska? What if we’re driving an RV like we think it may be and we pull a trailer behind it so we’d have no room for a car?

We’ve met some other people who ask God what He wants them to do every day and they also say the same thing; they will never go back to another way of living.

Deciding “my own schedule” gets some things done but I think I missed a million moments of what God had in mind for me because I wasn’t looking for that.

Just thinking out loud.

Prayers appreciated.

It Is OKAY To Like YOU

Remember that time when you did that thing you thought you couldn’t do? And remember how you were a little amazed by that? And if you’re honest with yourself, maybe you did it better than you thought you could?

When you think about YOU do you think more about that stuff or the “other” stuff… you know… the times you messed up… again?

The way we think about us in our own heads, about how we messed up, about how often we mess up, is just too much for our spirits sometimes. Be kinder to you.

Would you let someone else talk to you the way YOU talk to you? Would you let someone else talk to your husband, wife, kids, or parents the way you talk to you? Is it kind of… possibly… bullying yourself?

Stop.

Please?

Take a breath and think something nice about you.

It is OKAY and (dare I say) “healthy” to speak and think good things about yourself and your abilities!

Somehow the world has taught us that we can’t be glad about something we’re good at or have learned to do because if we say we’re proud of it, people may think we’re bragging or conceited or whatever.

What if we make it a “good” whatever!

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Philippians 4:8

YOU are amazing. Take some time to THINK ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU. You know why I know you’re so great? Because Jesus didn’t die for “nobody.” He died for YOU. And if HE thinks you’re worth dying for, then maybe it’s time for you to see that in yourself also.

You have permission to like you!

Your Life Matters

If God’s Power is shown brightly through our weakness
but we keep living life with a fake smile
and ACTING as if we’re strong enough on our own
then when exactly is God able to use our lives to shine through us?

Where does the Bible say to pretend we have it all “together?”
When did Jesus say, “Do this on your own”?
He didn’t.
He says to lean on Him. He will walk WITH us.

Somebody needs your story.
Somebody needs to know you are in her corner; that you are on her side; that you understand.
Someone needs to know you have been through the same stuff that he has been through.

The stuff you are going through matters.
Your life matters.
Ask Jesus to walk with you. He does this.
Ask Him to send someone to talk with. He does this.
Ask Him to give you strength for your storms. He does this.

Then ask Him for courage to share your story because somebody needs you.

This IS the time of your life.

We talk about “spending” time.

“How did you spend the time on vacation?” “How much time did it take to finish that project?” “The time you took to repair that issue was time well spent.”

You can spend money
and you can get more.

But not time.

We each have a specific number of minutes, hours, and days.
When our time is up, where have we spent it?

We CANNOT get more time.

What is wasting your time? Did you hear how we say that?
“YOUR” time? Like it’s just a casual thing…
but
Where did your time come from?

“Spend” some of “your” time, the time that God has gifted to you, talking to Him. Just stop a minute now to speak to Him. Your conversation is something He wants very much. He is jealous for YOU.