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.

 

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“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion) and totally worth the work.

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be as close and as healthy as they can be.  My husband and I have just started doing a few new things for our marriage and we’re noticing this one could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is one experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago (and we’re both loving it!)

Every morning we have decided to say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

(Sweet note: The look on my husband’s face as he speaks is so beautiful and something that’s been hiding for a little while.  It’s really nice to see the thought behind his words as he says something kind about me and to me.  Sometimes he’s just remembering good things from the past and those are good to hear also.  I can’t help but think he may be feeling the same way as he hears me speak good things about him, too.  It’s heart-healing.)

This is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

(And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but we’ve had ENOUGH of that!)

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re BOTH getting to HEAR some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is powerful.)

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious!

We ALL probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)  But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

If It Wasn’t For The X-Rays

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

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

But I was not okay.

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

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

There was not one scratch on the outside of me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

It Is OKAY To Like YOU

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

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

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

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

Stop.

Please?

Take a breath and think something nice about you.

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

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

What if we make it a “good” whatever!

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

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

You have permission to like you!

YOU CAN!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say.
How powerful are words?

I know a Guy who spoke the whole world into existence.

Your words matter.

Matthew 12
34b “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You meet people every day someone else will never meet. Nobody has the same path you have. People God leads across your path NEED YOU to speak life about them and TO them.

When we’re tempted to grumble about people (which happens, like, every day)…

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

the person who cut in line when we only have 20 minutes for lunch,

when the kid at school makes fun of our kid and our child comes home in tears,

the mom who has a bad day and desperately wants to know all this work she’s doing matters,

the dad who works hard and knows his wife and kids want some of his time, too, so he spends the evening playing “catch” when he’s wanting time for himself,

…take a breath.

 

And maybe instead of the first (possibly crushing) words that come to mind,

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

You can do this. You got this! I believe in you.

 

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.

Not right. Not wrong. Just thinking.

What if I poisoned you?

I didn’t poison you. But what if I did? You’d probably be pretty mad at me, huh?

No. Wait. What if I tricked YOU into poisoning yourself? What if I tricked you into poisoning yourself and inviting your friends to do it, too? And what if I tricked you into celebrating as you did this?

What if I made poisoning yourself legal? And what if I tricked you into paying your very own money for it that you spent so many hours working to earn? What if you worked all week hating your job and then on the weekend you were poisoned so that you could forget about the very job you’re working at to earn your money?

What if I made movies where most of the “fun” looking parties and dates had red cups full of soda or spiked with whatever poison you chose? What if, instead, I made movies and shows letting you see people enjoying life without “the cup” in their hands? What if I showed you movies about groups of friends who went around and did good stuff for their neighbors? Would you believe that’s a pretty cool way to have fun? I think you would. If you have the courage to retrain your own mind you will see this is fun.

Movie and television guys have spent hours and years and millions of dollars to trick us. Why do you think it’s called “programming?” The culture and world have programmed you to think a certain way. Think not? What about a couple on their anniversary date in a movie? What do you see? A bottle of wine in the middle of the table? What if it was a pitcher of water instead?

And before you go write 1,000 words to me about Christians and drinking, let me tell you this:

I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was 21 so do not think I don’t know what I’m speaking about. I do. (And though I really like Dr. Pepper I’m not quite sure it’s that good to drink, either.)

And I’m NOT telling you it’s right.

And I’m NOT telling you it’s wrong.

Jesus turned water to wine.  Not sure when soda was made.

I’m not going to debate this with you. And I’m not sure that I will quit either completely or if I still will occasionally. After realizing this stuff I think I’m leaning a lot more toward the not any more side.

There are MANY stages in between being a soda or alcohol prude and sodaholic or alcoholic so please remember this when speaking to someone who does drink these drinks. Are you wanting them to listen to you as you ask them if it’s poison, or are you pushing them away from you as you speak? Usually it’s our own choice to or not to poison ourselves.

And as for water connoisseurs, yeah, some water may be better than others. I’m not writing this to argue with anyone.

I’m writing this because God’s put it on my heart. But I know that if you’re in the mood, there are many other people who will enjoy debating whatever good points you have.

And you absolutely DO have good points and opinions. (I’m just not going to debate them with you.)

Have a party without soda or alcohol. Ask God to show you how to have real fun. Teenagers have fun all the time WITHOUT these things. I’ve been in groups of 15 year old kids and they talk and laugh and enjoy each others’ company for HOURS and DON’T end the evening throwing up or with a hangover the next morning.

Ask God to lead you to a job you really like where you can use the talents He’s given you. In my opinion most people in the world are not laughing enough or enjoying their jobs in life. Ask God to show you and to open doors for you. God can open a door that nobody can shut. And God can close a door that nobody can open.

All I am asking you to do is to simply think about this with every sip of your favorite soda or alcoholic drink:

What if YOU poisoned YOU?

I Never Even Said It Out Loud

I was not mean to anyone on purpose. That’s not how my parents raised me. I do not believe it is ever okay to be mean to someone or make fun of them. It’s very hurtful. It can be life ending. (And before you write a thousand word essay about how everyone hurts people, take a breath. I said I am not mean to people on purpose. I didn’t say I’ve never hurt anyone. Everyone has hurt others.)

In high school this girl started stalking me. I don’t know why but a few others joined her in her quest to make my life miserable.  One of the girls even used to be a friend of mine.

I remember this girl wanted to fight me because her boyfriend made her THINK he liked me.  I was pretty naive.  He was just talking to me.  He leaned over me with one arm resting against the wall in the downstairs hallway at school.  I saw him look at this girl, THIS girl who I did not know yet, this girl who was about to make my life really NOT fun anymore.  I didn’t know what he was doing at that time.  He was making her THINK he liked me.  He did this on purpose.  That’s all it took.  This girl was out for blood.  My blood.

I was scared to go to school every single day. She would follow me at lunch sometimes which was off campus because we didn’t have a cafeteria.

One time the malicious vultures stopped me right in front of my dad’s office. It was on a busy street corner on the main street in town where lots of people could see what was going on. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know my dad worked there.  I did not want my dad to come out.  My world was in chaos and I was about to be killed.  He shouldn’t see that.  It would be ugly.  (Now that I’m a grown up I realize probably nobody in dad’s office even noticed the storm out front.)  She never hit me.  She just said bad words at me while her groupies cheered her on.

One morning I finally made up my mind to just fight her hoping that if I did then she’d leave me alone.

I didn’t tell anyone this.

It was only in my mind.

I never even said it out loud.

That very morning just minutes after I decided to face this fear she called me and apologized.  I didn’t know she knew our phone number.  (There were no cell phones 100 years ago when I was a teenager.)  She said she was so sorry she was acting this way and didn’t know why she was doing it.  She asked me to FORGIVE HER.

I was shocked! All I did was decide within my own heart that I would face this giant all consuming fear and God blessed me.  Just like that.  He moved the mountain.  I didn’t even know she knew my last name.

The stuff you think about?  How you feel about it?  It matters.  God is very much alive.

Single? That’s cool. Window shopping? Probably always. What’s on “The List?”

[Note: This is written EXPECTING that the man is a man of good character and not abusing his daughters in any way. And, yes, I do need to mention this. Also I am a mom of two girls so realize this is written from a mom of two girls. I don’t have sons so I’m not writing from that perspective.]

Our oldest daughter was talking about a boy she thought was cute. I asked her what she liked about him. My husband started asking questions too.

I stopped and listened. I just froze. That was so cool. I wondered what that feeling was. What WAS that? It was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, it’s called LOVE. Our girls FEEL valued because daddy CARES who they hang out with.

Dads SHOULD be involved. Dads need to SAY to a boy, “My daughter is so valuable and I am trusting you. I expect you to treat her like you want your mom or sister to be treated.”

Make that list. If you choose to be married what would you want in a husband? I mean the stuff that really matters.

Here’s a start of a list to inspire you. And you are never too young to make “The List.” (not in any particular order)

1. Honesty and integrity in ALL things.

2. Loves Jesus and is a spiritual leader for your home.

3. Faithful to you and only you as his wife. No pornography. Period.

4. He will have a healthy relationship with your kids.

5. Learns what makes you feel loved on and acts on it.

6. Listens to the Holy Spirit to guide him.

7. Supports you in things you know God is leading you to do.

8. OUR money is just that. OUR money. Not yours and mine. Make the budget together.

9. Wait. Wait for God to show you who your husband is. Don’t just marry anyone you think may work. What God brings together let nobody separate.

10. He does not use credit cards. Period. Stuff is not so urgent that you must buy it now and pay it off for years. You want to live debt free. Debt is slavery. Nobody wants to be a slave.

11. You’re worth waiting for.

12. (Keep thinking. Keep praying. I’ll be praying, too.)

___
My daughters gave their list about dating. (This stuff should continue after the wedding.)
~

1. Treat me with respect. I am a person and I have feelings.

2. Open the door for me sometimes.

3. Be a gentleman.

4. Listen to me and really hear what I have to say.

5. Do not act like I’m not there when your friends are around.

6. Don’t cheat on me.

7. Be nice to my friends.

8. Be nice to me.

9. Call me every once in a while.

10. Tell me (sweetly) when I’m annoying you.

___
I asked my husband for his input when it comes to boys who want to date our daughters.
~
Advice to the boys who consider dating my daughters:

1. Get out of your car and ring the doorbell. She is worth it. If you can’t get out of your car to get my daughter and to bring her back and make sure she gets in the house okay then you cannot date my daughter.

2. Before you leave with my daughter and when you bring her home, you will shake my hand and look me in the eyes.

3. Before you can have a relationship with my daughter you have to have a relationship with God.

4. You need a strong work ethic.

5. I want to see how you interact with your mom. Because if you don’t have respect for your mom then you’re not going to have respect for my daughter or me or my wife.

6. Bring her home on time. ALWAYS.

7. Our daughters are valuable and you will treat them as the treasures they are.

8. Whatever you do with my daughter imagine me doing that with you.

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