You may be the only representation of Christ someone sees all day

When people are lost, they’re usually not very cheerful.

When we’re hungry, we can be grouchy.

People who don’t know Jesus yet are lost AND hungry

–only they may not even realize it.

 

When we see someone who is physically lost, we don’t need to say the words, “Hey, you are lost.”

(They already probably noticed that. aaand… it wouldn’t help the situation much either.)

Probably it’s not the best way to help someone who doesn’t know Jesus yet, either (of course, it actually may work well in some situations.)

 

When I’m hungry, I don’t need someone to tell me, “You’re hungry.”

I can already FEEL it.

 

Some people are STARVING –but they don’t know WHY they’re so hungry.

People try to fill this void with stuff the world offers.

But it won’t work.

Ever.

 

On the inside they may feel empty, used, frustrated, or grouchy

–and on the outside — IT SHOWS.

(OH, how it shows!)

 

Why show kindness to people who are being mean?

— You may be the only representation of Christ that someone sees all day. —

 

Sometimes when somebody is physically (or spiritually) lost and you show him the right road, he may be grateful.

But sometimes, he’s embarrassed that he didn’t figure it out by himself and that embarrassment shows on the outside.

Be kind anyway.

 

If it’s a Christian who is being mean, maybe there is sin that has caused some infection and when we’re dealing with an infection, we don’t feel well all over. (The Holy Spirit helps heal this.)

(…Quite possibly, it’s sin of unforgiveness, whether toward another person or self.)

Everybody understands that a wound needs to be cleaned out well, even though it hurts, so that it can heal properly.

(The same is to be said with emotional wounds.

No wonder there are so many grouchy people in the world.

They -whether Christians or not- may be carrying around hazardous material inside their heart and head.

We’re not supposed to carry that stuff.

And it’s heavy.)

 

We can be kind on purpose, and remember that everybody falls down sometimes.

Also, the enemy is pretty skilled at shooting poisonous darts of confusion into an otherwise peaceful day.

Sometimes the enemy we’re fighting is not the person standing in front of us.

And it’s no wonder. It’s not even a physical fight we’re fighting most of the time -but sometimes it’s hard to see it.

 

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness. THE ENEMY IS AFRAID OF what YOU can truly become. (from the movie King’s Faith)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

 

 

The cool thing is that this being kind thing doesn’t even have to happen with your own power; but God is right there, just a breath away, with Power we can’t even comprehend and HE will stand us back up. HE gives us the grace to show other people love even when we don’t know how or don’t feel like it.

When I am weak, HE is strong.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9b-10  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

 

 

Dear Mean People, Jesus loves you! Just sayin’… It’s not fun to be around you. But we (I – and other people who notice you’re grouchy) want you to know Jesus loves you because when you really know this, you won’t be able to stay mean. Then you will be much more fun to be around. Love, Somebody who cares about you.

 

(I can’t leave this without saying that prayer is where I find The Best Help.)

Hey, Kids, Let’s Hang Out At The Tire Store

A couple weeks ago I noticed the truck tire was low. A neighbor also noticed and pointed it out to me the next day. By then it was even lower.

A few years ago I would have felt like this – and anything like it – was an inconvenience in MY day.

I mean, it’s not like any regular day I’m going to say, “Hey, family, let’s go to the tire store and just hang out there for a couple hours.”

But what if –?

What if we treated most things WE call interruptions as God redirecting us?

 

Think about this.

How many times (and in how many ways) do we as parents help redirect our children?

How much MORE would God want to redirect HIS children to something He sees that’s better for us or toward someone He wants us to talk to?

 

When God gets my attention by a flat tire (and I’m not saying He MAKES flat tires happen but He IS God and He surely could do anything to redirect me in “MY day” toward HIS Will) then what if I change my perspective to see this as a possible Divine Appointment?

Sometimes we’re so upset about that silly flat tire and we totally miss the new contact God just put right in front of us.

“Okay, God, lead us. Please guide conversations and show us who are we supposed to talk with at the tire store.”

Jesus said He leaves His Spirit, The Holy Spirit, with us. How does He guide us?

What does that look like in 2016?

Maybe, possibly, it COULD be that it looks a whole lot like a screw in the tire and a few hours at a tire store.

It’s not really MY day anyway.  ALL the days are HIS days.  And we belong to Him.

When we start to play OUR part in HIS Design, amazing things begin to happen.

How is He trying to get your attention?

 

God, please guide me today and show me what YOU want for me today.  Please take “my schedule” to show me what YOU want for me.  Please show me who to talk to and who not to talk to and what to say and what not to say and please even show me how to say it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Only God knows the inside of each marriage.

We saw a couple in a store one time. The wife started speaking louder and sounded pretty upset.

To my husband it seemed that she was upset without much reason. He didn’t see or hear anything before that so she probably was overreacting.

To me, it was obvious that she was exhausted from the broken communication between the two of them.

We neither one ever found out what was the reason for their argument that day several years ago.

But marriage has been under attack since Adam and Eve.

We want to blame.

That woman…

That snake…

Whatever has happened (and it looks different in each situation) HOW do you find the way to truly forgive and still live with someone who caused such damage?

The enemy wants to separate and isolate each of us and he does this in about a billion custom-designed, clever ways (including all those things we run to for imitation comfort.)

Here’s the best answer I can find.

 

“You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood.

But it’s not.

It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become.”

-the movie King’s Faith

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12

 

Prayer. And The Incredible Power of The God behind the prayer!

 

God, ONLY YOU KNOW the inside of each marriage. Please heal broken lives and hearts. Please revive and make stronger what has been under attack for so very long.  Please let Your words be spoken and let us see each other with Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, please God, Amen.

 

[P.S. I’ve found this helps with more than marriage. I try to remember this now when I’m upset with anyone or any situation. There’s probably ALWAYS more than we can see with our eyes.]

[Note:  Forgiveness and staying daily in a dangerous situation are NOT the same things (though there are those who disagree.) God gave us wisdom and I believe we should use it. I do not EVER hope for divorce though I’ve been through it and through abusive situations and I do and will ALWAYS pray for safety for everyone.]

 

 

Dear Daughters, I’ve noticed.

An Open Letter to My Daughters.

I hear the way you pray over your days, friends, enemies, and choices. I see how you love others and want good things for them. I see when someone hurts your feelings and hear you pray for blessings for them and for God to heal you and use your pain.

I just want you to know that I’ve noticed.

You know where your strength comes from and you keep sharing that it’s from Jesus when anyone asks what is different about you and sometimes even when they don’t ask. You are warriors for Christ and with the Holy Spirit’s Power, you are doing great things every day.

I’ve noticed.

It’s absolutely beautiful to see how you face trials and adversity and you don’t retaliate. You could be angry. You could try to get even. You could wish bad things on people who have hurt you.

But you just don’t.

You can know for certain that I notice.

I see you forgive but not necessarily forget because as God uses experiences He’s brought you through, He reminds you of the passion behind your drive to love others.  You have understanding beyond your years.

God has taught me a lot through allowing me to be your mom. Being a kid in 2015 is tough (probably way tougher than when I was a kid.) You are learning to walk in grace and beauty that can only come from Jesus. I see His peace covering you.

You are world changers.

I’ve prayed over your whole lives, marriage, school, work, friends, enemies, and faith. I don’t have all the answers (and that’s okay.) Together we will always ask the Guy who does. Please come talk to me and Daddy when you make mistakes. (We were kids too and we made plenty of mistakes too.)  It’s okay to cry. God made tears and crying helps people heal.

I just wanted to be sure you hear that I notice you girls developing your own faith in Jesus and it’s beautiful to have a front row seat to this work He’s doing in your lives.

You are surely storing up treasures in Heaven and THAT means everything. These are the treasures that will last forever.

I love you.  Love, Mommy

~

Here is a prayer I wrote when you were little. I think it was around 2a.m. once as you slept while I was unpacking at a new house. I wrote it under your art desk. Whether the desk stays with you or not, the prayer and blessings will follow you no matter what.

Dear God,
Bless my children this night and from now on as they sit at this desk and help me always see their individual talents and encourage them for You. This night as I carefully set up all their art things in our new house keep them safe always.

Let me always remember the goal is Heaven no matter what comes in their lives and use me to help them see You. Through friendships and boyfriends and broken hearts let them look to You.

Let them have peace that You have a plan for each of their lives and not get sidetracked by the world.

Protect their minds and eyes and ears and bodies. Please keep them from harm.

Let me listen to them and remember that this time is for a season and not a lifetime. The dishes can always be done later. Lord, help me just learn to enjoy play time with my children and not organize anything. Just play!

I pray again this night for their husbands and their Christianity that they always look to You and are gentlemen to my girls You gave me. I cannot imagine anyone ever loving them like You and I do. Will they wipe their tears? Will they listen when my babies speak?

Oh, God, take care of my precious children in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Everybody is broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

(They don’t.)

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (and remember she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

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

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.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Are You Target Practice?

When people are unkind a lot of times it does NOT have anything at all to do with YOU.

Many times it’s unresolved stuff in someone’s life and you are the closest ~or safest~ target.

It’s hard to be happy when someone is hurting us but we CAN have some peace through the storm anyway.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.

James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ummm…

Okay I will try BECAUSE God says to. I may have to look up the words “pure” and “joy” and start off with “watered-down joy.”

But revenge and thoughts about revenge – don’t even go there.

Romans 12:17-19  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

You say, “But she’s really being mean. Like, REALLY!”

I know.

Be kinder anyway.

Pray for your enemies.  (Have you tried it?  It’s cleansing.)

Matthew 5:43-45  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I know.

It’s hard.

Ask God for help. Because ultimately, He is the ONLY One with this kind of help. He can change a heart and He can open people’s eyes to the damage they’re causing.

Proverbs 25:21-22  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

(Be genuine. Sarcasm and petty motives are beneath you.)

Good thought:  At least if they are focused on me, they are leaving someone else alone.

What am I learning?

He must be hurting very much to treat me this way. Even though the pain may not show on the outside there must be some stuff inside that is tearing up his heart.

Good news?

Yes.

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

Romans 8:28  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.

Do you hear that? ALL things.

Here’s a good way to start.

“Dear God, I really don’t FEEL like praying for _________ but I will trust You when You say to pray for our enemies. Please touch the heart of this person because I’m not feelin’ so loving toward him today….”

Romans 8:26-27  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Hey YOU. You got this!

Entertainment? (Celebrities and Fame)

When we celebrate when celebrities fail or fall, WE are part of the problem.  When we mock, tease, spread gossip, and laugh when celebrities mess up (or when anyone messes up, for that matter) we are hurting them; not helping them.

If we were 15 (or whatever age) and we had no privacy because of fame (which we may or may not have wanted) all our lives are on display; mistakes included.

Think about how a kid answers questions…

“Want your own show?”  “Sure!”

“Want a puppy?”  “Sure!”

I’m certain that most kids who get into show business do not understand the world they’re now part of and how damaging it can be.

And if we had Hollywood with its lack of any moral compass telling us that this really NOT good stuff IS “right” or “fun” or that we “should” or whatever… how would WE react?

This lifestyle these kids are in just breaks my heart. I cannot IMAGINE.

~~~>  And the adults who promote it and stuff… There aren’t enough words in any vocabulary to say how angry and sad that makes me. Oh, how the adults are going to be held accountable for leading kids away from Jesus!  <~~~

I’m just REALLY not sure anyone could say that these famous kids understand all they’re doing. (Probably no kids understand all the stuff they do.)

I’m NOT saying they’re not accountable. They ARE accountable.
We ALL are accountable for stuff we do and say. (Ours is mostly not in the public eye and THAT would make a huge difference.)

I AM saying that I remember in my 20s thinking that I knew some stuff when I was younger.
That’s funny.

Then I remember in my 30s thinking I knew some stuff in my 20s. That’s even funnier.

But now in my 40s I thought I knew stuff when I was in my 30s… Just wow!

–>  What I know is that God keeps teaching me.  <–  I have gray hair and I’m still learning all the time.

I’m praying for these young “stars” who are made to dance and act and say lines from someone’s script for “entertainment purposes” because I just REALLY don’t think they understand all of it.

If we were in the same situation, I’m not sure we would either.

(Grace and forgiveness. Yes. But we are accountable for all the moments of our lives. All that being said… I’m NOT okay AT ALL with what many young “stars” are doing. I am NOT excusing it.)

I AM praying over celebrities lives instead of spreading the rumors and pictures and I’m asking YOU to do the same.

Because if people stopped calling it “entertainment” and paying for it as “entertainment” maybe stuff would change.  Please be part of the solution.

That Doesn’t Even Rhyme

Sometimes people say mean things and try to cut you down to their level.

You can say, “No thank you.”

You can say, “Get lost.”

You can say, “Hey, you’re really being mean.”

But I think maybe a better thing to say is, “That doesn’t even rhyme.”

 

1530525_1432523866984290_1898909831_n[1]

Butterfly Crusher

She would not share her crayons or glue with me. We were grown ups. We were working in a child care and every two rooms were supposed to share crayons, glue, and supplies between all the kids.

She did not want to share her crayons and glue. She talked ugly to me and about me every day.

I told my husband about it. He said I should ask her why. There was NO WAY I wanted to go up to this angry, knife throwing, butterfly crusher of a woman and ask her why she wouldn’t share her crayons.

Preparing for the battle, I prayed and put on my best armor. I knew the next time she threw darts at my head I’d speak peace to her. It seemed she’d be pretty mad if I did this but my job was important and the need for income and to care for these kids outweighed whatever she’d do to me.

Right on cue as expected she tore into me, roaring loudly and cutting me down in front of all the teachers and children.

I calmly and genuinely said something like, “I’m very sorry. Please tell me what I have done to offend you. You seem really angry at me and I’m not sure what I’ve done to you.”

She broke into a hundred tears.

She cried and said she was so sorry. She just recently moved here, was miserable and she’s been taking all her stress out on me.

I was stunned.

The next time someone won’t share her crayons and glue with you remember there’s probably not anything you did. There’s probably stuff underneath that is creating anxiety or fear and it comes out as anger. Put on your storm gear and walk softly into the storm.

Your soft words can be a welcome and unexpected surprise and let her finally talk through her pain.