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.)

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If God planted a ministry in your heart…

God can move the mountains that are in the way.

There are so many ministries that God planted in people – but that haven’t begun – because we (members of church) put our faith for financing, encouragement, prayers, and other support in leaders of a church.

Please read that again.

If God has laid a ministry on your heart and you don’t find the leaders of a certain congregation to be in prayer with you, encouraging your God-given talents, believing with you that God is calling you and that He calls each of us in His timing to do work He’s prepared in advance for each of us to do,

I pray you prayerfully consider that it’s (probably way past) time to look  UP  instead of looking for support all around.

 

Sometimes leaders of a church or organization will not share (and I cannot understand why) the dream God’s given you with the rest of the congregation and a reason I think this is sad is because God only knows who else shares your passion but since the elders, preachers, pastors, teachers, deacons, or select committees won’t share what you’re feeling God doing in you with the rest of the church, others with the same message on their hearts are not even aware of the ministry God’s growing inside your spirit.

 Please don’t let that steal your joy or your faith. You know the opposition wants to kill ministries before they’re even born. What a horrible trick to use churches to extinguish God-ignited passion! We’ve all been tricked.

(Maybe your hope has been in the wrong place.) Stay in prayer.

If God has given you the dream of a ministry, you KNOW that He is MORE than capable to provide everything that is needed to carry that job out; including bringing you to the very contacts He knows you need, providing the money you need, and the land, buildings, and supplies. HE is The God of the impossible and all HIS resources are overflowing! You can have a body of believers praying for you from all over the world!

You can trust God to lead and provide better than anyone else.

Trust HIS timing even when (you or) others seem to think something is not happening fast enough. Trust Him to align your steps, asking Him to guide you every day.

If church leaders tell you that the money is already budgeted for the next year – or ten years… maybe their faith isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that the leaders’ lack of faith that God will provide for ANY ministry He plants in someone is something He will make them aware of eventually. Maybe right now they aren’t able to see beyond what they can see. (It is also possible that God is not using a certain group to provide financial support  – but even if they truly believe the money donated at that location is to be used in other ways, the leaders can STILL provide much support including sharing what the ministry is about and actively praying with you and for you.)

Sometimes everyone seems to struggle with having little faith. (God’s been reminding me to be kind about this always no matter who I’m talking with because some days the struggle of little faith is within me.)

God works with us all at different times and in different ways.

 

If God is calling you to begin a certain ministry, keep trusting God, asking Him for confirmation, provision, wisdom, and guidance.

Maybe God wants you looking to HIM for support that ONLY HE can give.

It’s just a thought – and it’s one He’s brought me to after seeking, asking, and knocking for answers.

This letter is to encourage you to look beyond what you can see (and who you can see) and to keep praying for God to lead in ways and open doors that ONLY He can open anyway.

Your friends cannot open doors God has closed and your enemies cannot close doors that God opens for you.

You can know that I’m already praying about the ministry He’s planted in your heart (maybe it was planted a long, long time ago) and it will be exciting to hear what He does in your life! It’s not too late.

It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. A tiny, baby step of faith is a great beginning.

 

Trust in The LORD with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to HIM, and He WILL make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

People keep saying God doesn’t lead today.

Maybe the reason so many people say God doesn’t lead them today is because people keep saying, “He can’t.”

Think about it.

If someone kept saying (or believing) that He doesn’t or won’t or can’t do something today in 2016, then why would He?

He has nothing to prove to anyone.

God says

 My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:  – John 10:27

My prayer is that God moves in people’s lives so big that they cannot help but see Him work in their lives (and then share it.)

I get it.

I was 40 something before I ever “felt called” by God to do something. I remember vaguely what life was like before that but life is WAY more satisfying after finally beginning to walk in faith.

The truth is that I have heard about Jesus my whole life but I never realized I wasn’t giving Him my time (which is something I believe He wants from everyone.)

My time was my god and God wants NO OTHER gods before Him.

You know how I know this?

Because He says

You shall have no other gods before Me. – Exodus 20:3

I mostly lived every day -for years- without a thought or prayer asking God what He may want me to do with the time He gifted to me.

 

It’s funny when you tell people you feel God tugging on your heart to do something.

Many will probably tell you it’s not true or it can’t be done.

The thing I can’t figure out is…

Do Christians really not believe God -The Creator of everything- is big enough to put a dream in someone’s heart?

Or is it that He just wouldn’t choose a certain person to give a God-sized dream to?

WE (humans) mostly decide stuff by how someone looks or their credentials or status or bank account or whatever. (By the way, I can’t find it in The Bible where God is actually impressed by all that.)

Something I do read about God says this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

 

Over the past couple years I’ve learned that when you share that you feel called by God to do something, lots of people are quick to tell you how wrong you’re doing it.

Or they’ll tell you how they would do it.

Or they’ll even be upset that you’re not doing it how they SEE you should be doing it.

Some people tell us “THIS is how it works” and continue on to tell us how they would be doing it. “Do this thing. Then this. Then this. And there you go. That’s gotta work.”

Okay.

Thank you. (Sincerely.)

But

Then

Where is faith in that?

Where does faith come in?

How would faith work into this if I try to accomplish this on my own?

God says

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

 

I’ve heard of people who kick the doors down and don’t wait for God to open them and I’m CERTAIN I do NOT want to do it that way though I’ve tried my way and my timing for many other things in the past. (And it didn’t work out well then, either.)

It’s no secret that I feel April 1st is a very important date and I had felt like God may be moving us April 1, 2014, but maybe the April 1st thing is truly God letting me know He’s calling us to live out our faith even when it looks foolish to others. And we’ll keep on doing it as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to do this work.

Someone came to tell me (a couple years ago) that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that “God doesn’t work that way anymore.”

But

Hebrews 13:8 says

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I’m glad that happened (though I wasn’t at the moment) because I realized something important. God didn’t put a year on my heart.

There are a lot of Aprils in the world.

There’s an April every year.

And we can look back more than 15 years ago to see how God was already doing this work in us. (We just didn’t know how or when or where or that it was for homeless people at that time. We did know it was a church camp kinda place and it was for teenagers.)

What I do know is that after God put it on my heart and began opening doors to this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place, I was pacing, excitedly, back and forth one day in our house in Texas, “God, Okay. Got it! Alaska Homeless Teen Center! Now how can I make this happen? HOW do I do this?”

That’s the day He put it on my heart that HE is the ONE DOING this and our family is just to be obedient to what we feel He’s calling us to do.

Whew! Okay. That sounds a lot easier than me trying to figure all this out!

God says

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So if God tells us to help orphans and we feel He’s literally calling us to go do that, don’t you think He’s big enough to provide the way?

People tell us to use our best logic. (Logic is not found in The Bible, by the way. I checked recently.)

But God says

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to Him, and HE WILL make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

So we’re going to choose to believe Him.

God is The Author of time and if He’s put a dream in your heart, He will be faithful to complete it. He knows what we need to do the work and He is not limited to a budget of people or supplies or money. (Thankfully!)

People may begin to tell you that it’s not possible or other silly things. (The truth is that if we were ALL doing what God is calling us to do then there wouldn’t be time left for people to critique what He’s calling YOU to do.)

 

We don’t have to grow up, get a degree, have a billion in savings, gather a committee, find supporters, or anything like that. If we follow Him, He’s got the rest.

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

 

When you share a dream He’s given you, it may really take you by surprise who is not supportive.

God may ALSO surprise you by giving you peace and confirming that support will come from where HE wants it to come from (and that’s pretty cool.)

All I can figure about that is that He will provide how HE wants to provide. (Perhaps He’s not wanting a certain person’s name or church’s name on it “so that none can boast.”)

Pray for peace confirmation when someone is not supportive. He’s got this. And He’s bigger than people realize.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

People may tell you that you’re not doing it fast enough. (For who? For them?)

So many people want everything faster in 2016.

But what about waiting on The Lord?

Waiting on God in 2016 looks… well, foolish. (April 1st kinda foolish, maybe.)

Some people tell us our family is not doing enough because we’re waiting on Him. Some people think we should be doing MORE as we wait on Him. More what? Planning my way? Saving my way? I couldn’t make this happen His way if I’d known about it my whole life.

Waiting on God is a form of worship in itself.

(God says you’ll be persecuted for your faith so I’m not surprised to be persecuted. It was just a little surprising that it comes mostly from other Christians.)

But

We’re doing what we feel we’re supposed to be doing as we wait on Him, which actually is enough.

We’re not going back and we’re not giving up as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to this work.

We’re asking, seeking, and knocking, and He WILL open doors in His timing and in His ways.

I can’t find it in The Bible that we’re to figure it out on our own and gather the resources on our own.

Besides, if we did this ourselves, then how would that be giving glory to Him? How would that show His Power and not mine?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

He’s got this.

 

[More about this Alaska homeless teen place here.  Prayers are always welcome here.]

 

I’m going to write a story about cheese.

I love cheese.  Cheese is yummy.

The end.

 

Critic#1  Why isn’t she writing about crackers?

Me:  Because this is a story about cheese.

Critic#2  She probably hates crackers.

Me:  No. I actually like crackers and I even like crackers and cheese together.

Critic#3  So why can’t she just like crackers by themselves. She’s probably got a thing about single people, too.

Me:  Um…. What?

Critic#4  She hates crackers because she’s probably racist.

Me:  Wow.  Um…  No. Where’d that come from?

Critic#58  She probably hates flour and flour is in birthday cakes and I heard she cuts birthday cakes.

Critic#437  She probably doesn’t even like cheese.

Critic#512  Why isn’t she writing about Jesus? She usually writes about faith in Jesus.

Critic#513  Bleu cheese is the best. Bleu cheese has feelings, too.

Me:  …I’m actually writing about cheese.

Critic#536  She doesn’t want me to be happy.  If she wanted me to be happy she’d have drawn a picture of cheese.

Critic#541  Sup?

Critic#543  She must be a racist, cracker hating, birthday cake smashing, cheese bashing person who only likes single people and didn’t even share Jesus today.

 

Me:  Wow.

 

This world…

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

The camp showers were 3 minutes for 25 cents.

Mommy bk k blog shower coins 1

My daughters were each in a shower and I would hand them shampoo, soap, or put another quarter in when the water shut off. Probably nobody likes to run out of hot water with foamy soap still all over.

Suddenly my heart completely ached for kids I don’t even know who don’t have a mother to help them through life.

I was moved to tears for them again in that moment.

The Holy Spirit overwhelmed my heart.

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up all I really wanted was to be a mommy and a wife.

Most of the time when I answered that question I was met with disapproving looks as if that’s not enough of an answer.

But it is.

It is enough.

As it turns out it looks like I will be a mother figure to many homeless teens in Alaska. Who would care for them? Here I am, Lord. Send me.

THAT is pretty amazing and I’m honored that God is doing this with my life. I don’t have to know HOW He’s doing this but I will keep following this dream He’s put in my heart as He keeps opening doors. (You can read more about this in the Alaska Homeless Teen Stuff here.)

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

SUCH a cutie boy, right?!

I smiled and gently explained that being a mommy and leading, training, and loving children is a very big job and is very something. He smiled back and I could tell he was believing this was truth (and it probably wasn’t meant in a disrespectful way at all.)

There is NO “just” in being a mommy or wife. (I believe that if it was a paid job, either of those would be on the highest scale ever. I know we’re all willing to do these jobs without pay but it’s just something I think about when it comes to the money and finance world and how it would blow the executives, presidents of companies, doctors, and lawyers away if they could all SEE a mommy or wife’s worth written in dollar amounts.)

But EVEN IF I was “just” a mommy and wife, that is absolutely “enough.” Whether people feel Called to adopt or are naturally Called to be a parent, it’s enough.

When did the world turn into such an

I-need-to-be-entertained,

everything’s-a-competition,

if-I-like-cheese-and-you-don’t-I-will-be-offended,

it’s-all-about-me-selfish

kinda place?

(It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.)

And life is NOT a competition. Your race is your race. Period. And wherever you are is just right for God to use you and your story.

Whatever God put in your heart to “be” when you grow up, I believe it’s enough.  And if people laugh when you tell them you want to be a dancer or singer or whatever, let them laugh.  (The way someone treats you is usually much more about his or her heart condition than it is about you.)

I believe in you and God believes in you.  He created you and knows your most intimate dreams. Sometimes we let the world tell us what we “should” be doing instead of following the dreams God wrote into us.

I heard someone say he wanted to be sure and use up all his talents and gifts so that there was nothing left by the time he meets God face to face. That’s pretty cool.

The job the world says you “should” have and the job God’s put on your heart to do may be 2 different things. (For some people it’s a blessing to have already discovered this and to shake off the world’s opinions.)

Believe in you.

People can go a long way just hearing someone believes in them. We are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (even when we’re thinking about ourselves.)

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

[Note:  I can’t leave this without adding that physical needs being met aren’t the only needs that desperately need met. Emotionally being there and believing in them, modeling integrity in all things and sharing Jesus with the kids in our care are also VERY important. Some kids have physical needs met but are starving for a deeper love that God intended for a mother to provide.]

[More:

Something we do at our house is called, “You are my favorite kid.”

I used to be a nanny and care for many kids. 2s and 3s are my favorite ages (and now, teenagers, too.) At one preschool job the most difficult child in a class of 24 3 year olds I taught was my favorite kid. Actually none of the other teachers enjoyed his company but he just had something special about him and I tried to be sure he knew I valued him.

We lived in Texas before this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. When my kids’ friends used to come over and they’d set the table or help in some way I’d say, “You’re my favorite kid.” (And it may only last 5 minutes til the next kid swept the floor or said, “I’m sorry” while looking into someone’s eyes and then that kid was the favorite kid.)

We’ve said this for years now and the other day my oldest daughter and I were talking. Everyone likes to hear that he or she is a favorite and many people never hear this in a whole lifetime. We are excited to get to take this favorite kid thing with us to the homeless teen place. Everyone there will get to hear “You’re my favorite kid.” (Sometimes my kids even say this to me. I love it!)]

The one day a year the neighborhood comes TO your door is not the time to keep it shut.

It’s Halloween.

Open your door.

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Toss some Jesus candy to people.

Start a conversation.

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Bless them.

Invite them to church.

Pray over the candy before you hand it out.

For real.  Not even joking.

Like a prayer walk

only pray blessings for the people

who will blow bubbles with the bubble gum you give out.

Print a scripture and tape it

to each piece of candy.

We are to go all over the world

to make disciples

and that is hard to do

when the door is locked.

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People know that many Christians are famous for

sharing everything we’re AGAINST

but we’re not as famous for sharing Jesus the way we should.

3t7b7617-1

 

It’s like this.

Sometimes we throw stones

at the adulteress

instead of being aware of

our own secret sin.

If we show her love, REAL TRUE love,

the kind of love she’s longing for

with all her heart,

then maybe,

just maybe she’ll want more of that

instead of the counterfeit romance that people offer her.

There is ONE night out

of the whole entire long year

that people flood the streets,

MAKE EYE CONTACT,

and say “Hello”

without thinking it’s awkward.

3t7b7675-1

 

THIS evening is NOT the time to close the door.

The neighbors you pray about knowing Christ

all year long

God is bringing TO you

but the opportunity to invite them to know

more about Jesus

is missed because you don’t want

anyone to think you’re “celebrating” Halloween.

Opening your door and handing out candy on Halloween

does not mean you’re celebrating evil spirits

any more than going to a funeral

at a graveside service does.

This year my Mad Hattress, my Dear Fawn, my husband and I

will be loving on people however God leads us,

with lights on, doors open,

and some Jesus candy to share.

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Be “that guy” and hand out Bibles if you want to

because you never know who needs one

but please don’t miss this opportunity

to love on and bless your neighbors.

Start a conversation.

Share Jesus with people

especially on Halloween

when sidewalks are covered with people

who are dying to know Him.

Be safe. Be blessed and Happy Halloween.

[Note: Do not send me hate mail

because I see a great outreach opportunity

and feel led to share about it.

I get it.

Some will be upset.

Some are always upset.

But someone may get to know Christ

because of open doors on Halloween

and I don’t want anyone

to miss any opportunity to share Him.]

Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money.

Instead of stressing out about whatever I’m working on, I’ve learned to give it to God. (Well, most of the time I do that. I’m still trying to remember to do this more often.) THAT (only) took just over 40 years to learn…

When I send a note, write on the blog, write to a company, or answer an email, with my hands on the keyboard I say, “God, please let this be whatever You will make of it.”

If I’m building something, I can put my hands on the shelves or whatever I’m building and say a prayer over all the people who will use the shelves.

Parenting is a most important job!  Our kids are placed in our care by God and they are His. He’s given us the honor of parenting. (Some people desire to be parents with all their hearts and never get the opportunity. Please let your parenting honor God.)

When we pray over our children, we often place our hands on their head or shoulders and say something like, “God, please send the Holy Spirit with our children today and let them shine for You. Please send Your Angels to protect them and give them the strength to be the people You are calling them to be.” (Our kids have told us the days we do this are more peaceful and powerful than the days we don’t.)

Here are some other practical ways to do this every day:

If you work in a store, pray over the merchandise before you open that day, for God to bless the lives of people buying the products.

If your work honors God, then you’re on the right track.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

~~> Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money. <~~

If you mostly do phone work, you can pray over your phone before work or all through the day just asking God to send healing to the customers you’ll connect with that day.

You get the idea. It may sound simple. (And it is.) But when you put this into action, amazing things begin to happen.

The truth is: We don’t have to work SO hard to make something look how WE think it “should” look or to make it “successful.” WE can do our best and leave the results up to God without so much stress we sometimes put on ourselves.

What I mean is that we sometimes let stress take over something that could be a fun or great thing (like opening a new business) and not all stress is bad. Even good stress is still stressful.

It’s the same thing with whatever you do, whether it’s school, home, or wherever you are. And it doesn’t have to be some big spectacle! You can say a silent prayer in your head as you walk.

At the store you can pray over the people who drive the cars as you walk past them in the parking lot.

Or if you’re jogging you can pray over the people who live in the houses as you run past them.

The people you see or talk with every day are not the same people I see every day. They are crossing your path for a reason and you may be the ONLY Light for Jesus they see all year. Let them see Him in you.

Recently I shared that we were praying about moving to Alaska to open the homeless teen place God’s put on our hearts.

A teenage employee looked right into my eyes as if asking for something but not exactly sure WHAT that is, “I’m still learning HOW to pray.”

I said, “Just talk to Him.”

~> “THAT” moment mattered. If I’d said nothing then I’d have missed an important minute to share Jesus with someone who may be looking for Him. <~

I am confident that when God hears someone pray for the first time, He listens and is pleased no matter how we think it sounds.

 

He’s not mad at you.

People know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God led people before the Bible was written to write the Bible (which is actually proof that He led people before the Bible was written because how can we believe that the Bible is God-led unless God led them to write it?)

He led people during Bible times which is clear in the Bible.

And since His Word is a Living Word and He is a Living God, He still leads people today.

The same people who profess that God is the same yesterday, today and forever are some of the same people who will adamantly tell you that God does not really lead us today in 2015.

How can that be?  If He is the same always and He led yesterday, then it is obvious that He still leads today.

The Bible is not just a history book. It is a book showing us God’s Love, Redemption, and Grace for mankind. And just because we can read how God saved (or wiped out) people in the Bible does not mean He could only do that work ONE time. He can and DOES STILL save (and wipe out people.)

People will argue.  And the sad thing is that so much of the church seems to be so busy arguing like Pharisees that people who don’t know Jesus yet may wonder if He’s a good thing or not.

He is.  He is good.  Jesus is The ONLY Way to Heaven.  And I apologize for how we Christians sometimes mess things up by making stuff sound too complicated.  Because it’s really not.

~~>  Jesus loves you.  <~~

You are here on purpose and for a purpose.

But God is a jealous God and we’ve made idols that come before Him, we’ve turned the beautiful sex that He made into pornography under the disguise of “entertainment,” put sports games before worshipping Him, plastered our walls with posters of movie stars and musicians, and pretend that WE are to be praised for how well our career is going instead of praising Him for the job AND for the talents to do the jobs.

Praise Him – in good AND bad times.  Amazing things happen when we do this.  It’s not about me or you.  Life is about God.  We are made by Him and to bring Him glory.  He created us with the very talents needed to do the jobs He’s planned for us since before we were born.

Have you heard the Good News?

Jesus is not still on the cross. He is RISEN!

Let’s celebrate that He is risen when we share communion.

Many times the atmosphere during communion (at least in most church buildings where I’ve attended) feels much more like a funeral than a celebration.

~~~>  REJOICE! HE IS RISEN!  <~~~

Ask God what He wants you to do today and follow the tugs on your heart.  Then ask Him again tomorrow what He wants you to do tomorrow.  He wants to hear from you every day.  He will lead you.  This, I know.

Don’t know if God can use you or your story?  He can.  He will.  And many times I’ve witnessed the very things that threaten to hold us down are the very things God uses to lift us up to help and save others through and from the same experiences.

God knows we mess up.  He knew our best and our not so wise choices BEFORE we were made.

We hide sin from other people and from Him because deep down we know it’s sin;  just like Adam and Eve knew and hid in the Garden of Eden.  There is nothing new and nothing you do or think will surprise Him.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross and take YOUR sins with Him SO THAT you can receive the gift of Heaven for all eternity after this life.  You can’t be “good” enough for Heaven or “bad” enough for Hell.  You are forgiven enough when you receive Him and are baptized under water.

Heaven is a GIFT.  You are redeemed!  Heaven will be filled with forgiven sinners.  Hell will be filled with people who denied Christ as their Savior and who walked away from God.  God doesn’t leave you.  You have to leave Him if you don’t want Him.

~~>  And in case nobody has ever told you,

THIS is THE most important decision of your whole life.  <~~

He sent the Holy Spirit here to live INSIDE you and guide you.  This stuff is real and Heaven and Hell are real.

The greatest words ever will be to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

He’s not mad at you.

He’s madly IN LOVE WITH YOU and He has a great plan for your life.

How will you know what that looks like unless you keep asking Him to keep leading you?

 

God, teach Your people to stop the fighting and start uniting.  P.S. And please could You teach us what that looks like because as soon as we try, we start arguing (like the children we are.)  Just please keep leading us.  Please forgive us when we mess up and always remind us how much You love us.  Thank You for never giving up on us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Someone Will Probably Be Offended

I kind of hate arguing. But it happens. I’m not afraid of confrontation but at the same time it’s just not fun. It’s not a fun way to spend time.

Recently I’ve been reminded of some times of my life that are so pain-filled that it’s hard to sort through thoughts. I know some people understand what I’m saying when I say this.

Sometimes you don’t even realize how hard something will “hit” you until the “hit” actually happens.

When I feel led to write something, I spend time praying to try to not offend people but the truth is this;

~~> No matter what someone says, someone else will probably be offended. <~~

I realize it’s hard to sort through my own thoughts and feelings when something bad happens in life but it’s probably always harder to try to explain everything to another person.

Maybe if we could open our minds and download the memories into other people’s minds then they’d actually be able to understand where we’re coming from, why we’re who we are and more about how we got “here” wherever “here” is (because “here” looks different for every person in the whole world.)

SO many arguments happen because of one word;

Misunderstandings.

In my experience, there are so many times we argue -but at the end of it all- it’s obvious that SO much of this fighting could be avoided if we could just understand each other better. (I’m not talking about marriage but yes, in marriage, FOR SURE!)

There’s this Guy who will never misunderstand you. He KNOWS your heart. He knows your motives. He sees the good in you EVEN when you can’t see it in yourself.

He’s God.

When you talk with Him, He just “gets” it, ya know?

You don’t have to REexplain it all again and again because He’s witnessed everything til now – and actually knows everything about your future also (but it’s still always okay and good to talk through everything with God.)

Sometimes He’s the last one we talk to

but

WHAT IF we chose Him to be the FIRST one?

~~> What would that even look like in your life if you talked to Him FIRST about everything instead of (or at least before) anyone else? <~~

I know there’s peace and clarity there that just can’t come from anywhere or anyone; not my husband, kids, friends, church, or anyone else.

Maybe we’re not supposed to completely understand each other.

It’s probably a good thing we can’t download memories to each other. I mean, if it was something God wanted this way, He could have easily done it. There must be a good reason He didn’t create us with this ability.

I guess the thing that would help in every situation – no matter what – good or bad – is just that;

Talk with God first.

I mean… what if we did?

 

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.

 

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.

Seven Million Tears (Divorce)

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.

 

Hurting from the Inside Out (Quantity vs. Quality -especially in churches)

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

“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, THOUGHT 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.)

 

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.

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 …”

On Purpose.

It’s offensive when people are so easily offended.

Am I living for praise from people?

Am I living for praise from God?

Sometimes they overlap and it’s great when this happens.
Sometimes not so much and that comes down to the true character in each of us.

It’s hard to lose friends when we stand up for something ~ but it happens.

Maybe the word “friend” is a little overused?

We CANNOT please everyone.  Why do people try to please everyone?

Not even everyone loves Jesus.  Think about this.  If every person does not want Jesus, then why in the world would we even begin to think that everyone should love everything about each other?  How much MORE are people not going to love us for standing up and sharing our opinions or even bigger and more importantly; our faith?

I’m not sure WE even love everything about OURSELVES.   So WHY do we think if we disagree on something, it’s a magnificent tragedy?  It seems being offended because someone views stuff differently goes against the very fact that God made us each different ON PURPOSE.  He did not HAVE to make us all different.  He chose to.

If you’re looking for someone who likes, agrees, loves, hates, and is impressed or not impressed with exactly the very same everything as you are you’re not going to find it.  Just love people where they are.  It’s really not so difficult to do this.

 

At the end of my life it may not matter as much if a person is impressed by how I lived but I absolutely, for sure, with every part of me, want to hear from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Nothing.

IMG_2798 iiaafb nothing

See this picture?

It’s a bunch of “nothing.”

It’s a bunch of dead autumn leaves soaked by rain.

They may LOOK like nothing but when the leaves break down they become part of something bigger and help other things grow.

I may have felt like “nothing” but I have a Jesus Who says I’m VERY SOMETHING (even when I’m broken down.)

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog

I don’t know how they got homeless.

Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.

~
“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.

And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…

I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.

Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.

My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.

I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.

For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.

I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.

It’s Not About Me

God’s led me back to a book I’ve been reading for a while.

The book is called It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado and it’s great.

It’s just NOT about me.  It’s about God and I need to never step in the way.  I even hate the way the blog and Twitter say “Follow” because do not follow me.  Follow Him.  He does NOT NEED me to help Him.  He allows me to help.

And so He’s worked on my attitude and reminded me who I am to Him.  I’ll do the job He’s leading me to do…  Alaska homeless teen place and writing online (NOT comfortable in ANY way) and encouraging people daily while also challenging them to ask WHY they do the stuff and believe the stuff they believe.

Know how I know it’s God?  Over 2,000 people have been to the blog.  I could not make 2,000 people do anything.  That’s how I know Who’s in charge.  And I can rest and have comfort in that.  He’s led an Australian newspaper to find the blog and they’re sharing some stories.  That is how I know He’s got this.  I just need to be His hands and feet and ask Him what He wants me to do every day. http://www.informedchristiannewspaper.com./

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing what He’s putting on my heart to do that day.

My youngest daughter was bullied in 5th grade.

I just found out yesterday how bad the bullying got in 5th grade and some teachers added to the problem.  (NOT all the teachers.)  And three boys and one girl specifically bullied my daughter to the point of her wanting to leave this world.  I did not know it got that bad.

I don’t wish for them to NOT find Jesus but I just don’t care to be the one God may use to show Himself through.  Ya know?

I’m human.  I have regular feelings and all that.

I live “real.”  My family lives “real.”  And we like it that way.  We will keep asking God what He wants us to do every day and for Him to use us to show His Light.

~Even on days we don’t really feel like it.~

Because

it’s just not about me.

That’s what talents are.

I don’t know math. I don’t know geography or enough about politics to argue or lie my way into office. (And not every politician lies.)

I don’t know how to save the animals from extinction or how to stop child molesters (though I intend to do my very best at putting an end to it and at helping people heal from that kind of hurt.)

I don’t know about how to build a car or the best way to create a generator. I don’t know the best way to grow a tomato and I’m not sure how to tell schools that good grades in school are NOT the most urgent thing in life.

Those things are all very important.

But I wasn’t given the talents to take care of all those things.

I DO know about relationships, people, words, and faith. So I speak about what I know.

That’s what talents are.

Talents are the things that come more naturally to each of us. Use them. Ask God HOW He wants YOU to use them. Life is so much better this way. You don’t have to believe me. Believe the creator of YOU. Ask Him what you’re supposed to be doing.

Sometimes we are not even aware of all our talents. It’s always okay to ask God to make us aware of the talents He’s given us.  He does this.

If you judge a fish on how well he climbs a tree, he will always fail (unless he is a tree climbing fish and climbs trees. We all know there are phenomenons so I don’t want to say always in case there is that amazing tree climbing fish somewhere out there that we haven’t heard of yet. Yay for the amazing tree climbing fishies. You guys rock!)

I don’t know who to give credit to for this tree fish saying but I’ve seen it online a few times and there is SUCH great truth to it.

Do what God’s called YOU to do. And don’t stress about everything else.

I sometimes think about what this world would look like if we each did the jobs we were called by Him to do.

You ARE on purpose. You are HERE on purpose and you are here FOR a purpose.

YOU MATTER.

Ask God what He wants YOU to do today.

What are you looking for?

I went to a Christian college.  That does not mean I’m perfect.  That does not mean I’m good or bad.  That means my parents wanted me to have the opportunity to get to have teachers and friends with hopefully a strong moral compass that would help lead my life toward Heaven.

We’re all sinners.  ALL of us.

If I looked for the kids who were more like me (the “black sheep” of the family) I found them.  If I wanted to find people with stronger character who were not afraid to show their faith, I found them.  I loved all of the people I met.  Some hurt me.  Some did not.  I wouldn’t go back and change anything because God has used each situation in my life and created something altogether good out of it.

Whatever you are looking for in any situation you will find.  You want to find the problems, they’re there.  You want to find the blessings, they’re there, too.  The very same situation can provide both.  Want something to complain about?  You’ll certainly find it.  Want something to praise God about?  It is there.  Always.

What are you looking for?

Pick each other up IN LOVE and WITH LOVE

When a baby has a poopy diaper, we change it.

What if we left the baby in the poopy diaper because he’s comfortable and we don’t want to upset him because cleaning him up and helping him get out of the poop is a process and he’s tired and the wipes are cold and he’s pretty content the way he is.

No.

That would be neglect.

We change the diaper because we love him SO much. It’s called caring for him. We will change the diaper EVERY time it’s poopy. That’s how it should be.

We need to care enough for each other that we help each other out of the poop our lives are in. That is not wrong to do.

We need to matter SO much to each other that we notice and take the time IN LOVE and WITH LOVE to help lift each other out of the poop.

And it MUST be IN LOVE and WITH LOVE. It takes time and kindness. Sometimes after I know you love me, I will be able to listen to you and let you care for me.

That’s how it should be. We should matter.

What if we could REALLY see people?

What if we could REALLY see people?

I mean, what if we could see past what they drive?
Past what they wear?
Past their moods?
Past their bodies?

What if we could SEE the condition of people’s souls?

I wonder if THEN we’d treat each other with a little more consideration.

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

Tattooed

I recently heard about people who tattoo poetry on their bodies in various places. Pretty cool idea. Those words meant SO much to them that they made them a PART of their body and life.

The thing is that when you simply HEAR words, they BECOME a part of you, tattooed in your mind, just because you heard them spoken.

Think about the WORST thing that someone has ever said to you or about you. That became a part of you whether you meant for it to or not. And it probably wasn’t even true. But you heard it and believed it. You took it to “heart” even though it was probably false.

The stuff you listen to matters. The stuff you think about in your own brain matters. Philippians 4:8. The stuff you hear and think about becomes words you speak to yourself and to others. Check out Matthew 15:16-20.

Now think about the BEST thing someone ever said about you… Sometimes it’s harder to pull those memories to the front of your mind.

Words get tattooed in our minds whether or not we intentionally want them there.

The music I listen to “because I like the beat but I don’t listen to the words.” Yes. I do. I do actually hear the words. The stuff you say to and speak about your kids MATTERS. They hear it and they believe it. Those words you speak to yourself about yourself… It matters.

Remember this as you speak TO and ABOUT other people.

THEY MATTER!

Speak words TELLING them that they matter
because
YOUR
words
get
tattooed
on
THEIR
hearts.

Maybe…

Maybe…

It’s not the drinking.
It’s not the cutting.
It’s not the drugs.
It’s not the bulimia.
It’s not the overeating.
It’s not the gossiping.
It’s not the stealing.
It’s not the lying.
It’s not the cheating.
It’s not the smoking.

Maybe it’s the WHY underneath it all that we need to care for first.

Pretty Ministry

They told her it was unsightly. I couldn’t believe my ears. The empty milk jugs were “unsightly” so they should be hidden somewhere.

These empty milk jugs were used to put laundry soap in for people who needed it but couldn’t afford it. She spent her own money and made gallons and gallons of laundry soap every week at a much lower cost than was available at the store.

She had a laundry soap ministry. All she asked for was that people bring rinsed, empty, plastic milk jugs so that they’d have enough containers for all the laundry soap.

And it was FREE to anyone who asked for it.

Helping other people IS unsightly. It’s not pretty sometimes. Why are people embarrassed about helping other people? Do they think we should all just have pretty ministries?

That’s not how it works.

Life is messy. We need to meet people right where they are and help pick them up out of the trash their lives are in.

Jesus helped many people. And it wasn’t a pretty ministry. He spent time teaching and healing the broken, sick, prostitutes, people with leprosy, and tax collectors. Check out Matthew 9:9-13.

I want to be a part of a church that has those unsightly, empty milk jugs somewhere in the hallways so that when people ask about them we can tell them how they can help people get laundry soap. (And no, the empty milk jugs shouldn’t be out on “display” either.)

Ironic. The “unsightly” milk jugs were used for soap to wash stuff and make it clean.

Sometimes genuinely loving on people is just not a pretty ministry.

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.”

 

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You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid (Sexual molestation)

I was 9 years old.

You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid. I believed the lies that I was nothing. I believed that this was all I was good for. You belong in prison and you know it.

You took my innocence and my confidence. You are the lowest of low people and you have NO excuses for what you did. You say it’s because someone molested you so you molested others? That’s a bunch of lies!

You molested ME and I would NEVER hurt another person this way.

There IS a choice. It can stop with YOU.

I matter. You should have seen that I matter. You should have been someone good in my life. Instead you are someone who wrecked into my life and made me feel like nothing.

If you repent and are baptized and go to Heaven, that’s great. As for this life, you belong in prison. I forgive you because my heart needs to be free to love on other people and help them heal. I forgive you because God says to. I forgive you because you are so broken that you don’t even realize what you’ve done to so many people. I feel sorry for you.

You made me afraid for so many years. I thought you would come after me. You don’t even know that part. All those years I spent afraid that you would come after me, I now realize you were thinking nothing about me AND you were still molesting other kids and sleeping with anyone of “legal” age who would have sex with you. The damage you did was still happening and you just lived care free.

You are nothing but a coward. You will answer to God FOR EVERY THOUGHT you had about me and you will also answer just the same for all the other kids you molested. Yes, you have to answer to Him. He’s my Daddy and He is NOT happy about the way you think about me and what you’ve done.

Thank you for inspiring me to write this. I know it will help so many people.

See?

That’s the thing.

God is using the very thing that you used against me to help other people heal. I am NOT afraid anymore. I am very worthwhile and I matter.

And now I will spend the rest of my life telling other people that they matter.

Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now — life for many people.  -Genesis 50:20

I forgive you and, NO, you may NEVER be around my children. I forgive you. I’m not stupid.

Sincerely, Me

~

Let me tell you something.

There is NOTHING sexy about a 9 year old little girl. There is NOTHING sexy about a 3 year old or a 15 year old for that matter. Some of those years it’s just called puberty, you piece of trash. A 15 year old child is a child. She may have a body starting to look like a woman but her mind is nowhere near ready for sex or a “relationship.”

People who molest and rape children are lower than bill collector scum. They are NOTHING. God can love them and forgive them and that’s way beyond my understanding, because I do not see HOW He can, but that’s because I’m human and I have only limited understanding.

~

POEM – or whatever you want to call it.

Please let me be a kid.

Please let me get to play hide and seek, ride my bike and play on the playground without you looking at me like that. Please let me walk with my friends without worry that you’ll take me from my family or take away my childhood.

Please see that I’m a child of God and know that He’s gonna be really, REALLY mad about what you’re thinking. Please let me be a whole, confident, safe kid and grow to be a person who can help other people in the world find their talents and meet their goals.

Please let me just be a kid.

I only get one opportunity to be a kid and you can help make it a wonderful time or make it the most horrible memory for me.

Please just let me be a kid. Please do not take my pictures. Please do not have wrong intentions toward me. Please don’t bother me.

Please know that if you do anything to me that is against God, you will answer to Him for it. You will stand in God’s presence and He will ask you, “Why?” and you, alone, must tell Him, our Daddy, why you hurt me. I don’t know if He’ll take the excuse that someone touched you so that’s why you can’t control yourself. Please don’t make excuses at all. Please don’t touch me in a way that God would be sad about. Please just let me be healthy and please don’t introduce sex to me when I’m only a child. You don’t have the right to do that. You don’t have the right to hurt me. You don’t have the right to even think the things you are thinking about me.

I can tell. I will tell. If someone isn’t smart enough to help or hear me, then I will tell another grown up and another and another until someone is smart enough to help me get away from you. You do not have the right to make me a dirty, little secret. You do not have the right to take away my innocence.

I’m bigger than you. I’m braver than you. I’m braver because I pray for you now. I pray that you feel loved on enough at home and by God to not ever bully or hurt other people.

Please, please just let me be a kid. -Kerri Stites

My writing is not for everybody. But it’s for somebody.

And if I can help ONE person heal even just a little bit by the “stuff” in my life, then I will have the courage to write. Even when people laugh, I will write.

A few years ago a friend told me she knew I was supposed to write a book. I told her she had NO idea what she was talking about.  I’m nobody.  Who would ever want to hear what I have to say? I mean, I’m nobody.

She then said the words that changed my heart, “Hurting people need to hear what you have to say.”

Okay THAT got me… I’ll write.

The thing that has stopped me for a VERY long time is the fear of hate mail or people just looking down on me. And I’m TERRIFIED of being online “out there” in cyber space where people sit behind the false protection and act like it doesn’t matter what ugly stuff is typed to someone else because it doesn’t really “count” because it’s just online etc. etc. etc. It DOES count and you are affecting other people’s lives whether for good or bad by the stuff you say and even the stuff you don’t say.  Anyway the number ONE thing that has stopped me from writing is that – I’m nobody. Not true. I am a Child of the One True King. (And so are YOU. Please live like it.)

So the number TWO thing is that I’m terrified of living ONLINE. Being open and sharing life is obviously not a problem for us, but doing it publicly like this… very scary to me.

I just gotta have faith.

And number THREE, I do not want fame or anything that goes with it. I am perfectly comfortable ministering to the few people God brings across my path and feel safer hidden away in my house NOT sharing with the world.

Famous people do not have privacy anymore. Privacy is NICE. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fall all over myself if/when we run into “famous” people, I mean, until it is Jesus, because then, I Can Only Imagine how I’ll react! But just because someone knows about someone or knows their picture and people recognize them from movies or TV, most “fans” don’t actually KNOW them. Who they are. What they stand for. How they treat their family. I cannot figure out why people turn into goofballs and can’t speak correctly when meeting someone famous. Sure, it’s an honor. Absolutely. And it’s just as much an honor to get to meet the girl who is working at the grocery store to pay for college. Both are important and God planned and created them both equally valuable. One is just not “famous.”

So

Number 1. I’m nobody.

#2. Terrified of online.

And 3. Fame. Not for me.

But if that’s true; If hurting people DO need to hear what I have to say… then… I will write. I’ll write to share my faith.

My writing is not for everybody. But it’s for somebody.

And if I can help ONE person heal even just a little bit by the “stuff” in my life, then I will have the courage to write. Even when people laugh, I will write.