Daughter of the King

At our Women of Worth event at my church I had the privilege to share a devotional that I had not intended to write, but was prompted by the Lord to do so. I hope and pray it speaks to your heart so you know your worth in Him!

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“For as long as I can remember I have loved the thought of being a princess…. What little girl doesn’t at some point dream of that? But many times throughout my life I have felt more like the a lady in waiting, not worthy of being called royalty. I have always been a fan of the Princess Diaries movies from Disney. I mean what one of us wouldn’t love to find out that have been a princess all along? That we have a castle? A kingdom to serve? How incredible would that be? But here is the good news….. we ARE all princesses! We will inherit the Kingdom of God as His heirs! He has called us, as His daughters, to serve His people right here on Earth, so that they too will know their inheritance as heirs of the Kingdom as well.

Hear these words ladies and KNOW they are true.

1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.

John says that God gave those who believe in Him the right to be called children of God, therefore I am His daughter. As the King of Kings, that makes me a princess and heir to the Kingdom of God.

There are so many days where I feel like the kingdom servant instead of a princess, while doing the daily grind of chores, parenting my children , and keeping my house in order. But a speaker once told me about how she had to remind herself of her royal status by taking these moments and making them a moment to feel like a princess. She used to vacuum with a tiara on her head…. So of course, I had to try this! And many times if you drop by my house when I am vacuuming, you would see my tiara on the top of my head! Because now I wasn’t a servant in my house… I was the Princess that was serving her people as God called her to do.

There are days I feel like I am not living as royalty and am failing as a princess. I look in the mirror and I see all of the flaws and failures. I see someone who needs to be more patient, more loving, less selfish, needs to take better care of herself, her family, etc. But that isn’t what our Father sees. He sees us as His children with unconditional love. He calls us BEAUTIFUL!  Our Father – THE KING – calls us His children and is enthralled by our beauty…. Check out Psalm 45!

And someday He will call us Home to the Kingdom and we will be with Him forever. He has prepared a room in the Kingdom for us….. mine will look like a room in Cinderella’s castle from Disney world. But until that time, we wait in anticipation for the Father to return just as an eager child waits at the window for “Daddy” to come home from work. When we return to our heavenly home with Him He will recognize us as His daughters because it says so in His love letters to us — the Bible!

This morning as we come together to have fellowship with our sisters at our tables, while we learn together about this inheritance we possess, and serve together for the Kingdom of our Father, I pray that you begin to feel like the princess you truly are. You are a daughter of GOD! Even on days when you feel wounded, like an outcast, lonely and afraid, remember you possess the inherent right to be regal, powerful, confident, joyful, a peacemaker, an overcomer who is loyal, faithful, and seeks above all to bring honor to our Father’s name and reputation.

So polish up your crowns and let’s act like the royalty we are.”

 

 

Quit “Shoulding” Me!

This past weekend I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve at the Hearts 2 conference by Ignite the Family in Peoria, IL. Typically I am so busy serving that I am unable to hear the speakers, but I was honored to get to hear our Saturday morning speaker, Grace Johnson who is a gifted speaker and potter.

While Grace spoke and began to make the most beautiful pitcher on her pottery wheel, she shared her story. One of the most profound things I hear her say was when she decided to tell the world and the church to Stop “shoulding” her. It spoke directly to my core. So what does that mean?

Many of us recognize that the world puts demands on us that are unnecessary which can lead to having perfectionist tendencies. Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all show the best of everyone’s homes, cooking skills, families, etc. Everything is perfect and in it’s place – therefore it’s photo-worthy – ready to share with the world. It says “Look at how perfect we can be!” That’s something we have talked about and recognized for a while now. Jill Savage calls it the “Perfection Infection” which infects many of us, especially women.

Grace spoke to this and wanted to end some of these things that world “shoulds” us to do. These things are NOT God’s truth.

  • We should make sure are clothes are all put together and presentable at all times. Including hair and makeup.
  • We should be successful in all aspects of our careers.
  • We should have kids that behave at all times in public no matter what.
  • As Christians, we should have kids that turn out as Christians just like us.  They won’t be in jail, won’t get pregnant outside of wedlock, and won’t be jobless. If we did our jobs as parents, they would turn out good.

These things are not truths of God. Instead He reminds us in Romans 12:2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We don’t have to listen to the “shoulding” of the world and we need to focus on God’s truth for us.

But many times as Christians we are under the assumption that “the church” (as a whole – not individual buildings) tells us the truth because they are supposed to be acting under God’s Word. But unfortunately that isn’t always true.

  • We should smile and tell everyone “I’m fine” on Sunday mornings.
  • We should serve on all of the committees and ministries we are asked because we will be more blessed the more we serve.
  • We should give our money without hesitation and trust that the church is going to be good stewards.
  • We should have happy homes where there are no major problems happening.
  • We should _____________________________________________________. (fill in the blank)

Again, not all of these are God’s truth, but truths that are man-made. This isn’t what God says about us at all. He says we are lovely and perfect the way He made us. He continues to hold us and love on us because we are HIS. He wants us to come to Him with our hurts and imperfections. He wants us to be real, raw, and, honest with Him, so He can comfort us and guide us.

As I watched Grace share her story and reveal how she walks in freedom everyday because she told all these other voices to “Quit Shoulding Me!” Instead she listens to truth from the Father and walks in the freedom He has given her.

So many times my frustrations don’t come from the “shoulding’ from the world, but the ones that come from the church. The pressure and guilt I feel when I have to say “no” to serving in some capacity is immense and gets in the way of my joy while at church. So many times when I am serving in more than one capacity at church, I feel like I have lost my passion for serving because I am burning out. Romans 12:11 says “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Instead we must find what we are passionate about, what gifts we have and bring, and serve in that capacity with passion and zeal! 1 Peter 4:10 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” We should ask ourselves if we are being good stewards of our gifts and using them in the way God wants us to. Or are we just saying “YES” out of obligation or because the church says we “SHOULD?” 

TODAY’S THOUGHT: What “shoulding” do you need to stop listening to in your life?

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What I am giving up for Lent…

Ash Wednesday 2020 Images, Quotes, GIF, SMS, Wishes, Wallpapers, Facts, History

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. This year I have had the same internal dialogue going on that I have every year about the annual question, “What am I giving up for Lent?” I have never been good about giving something up and sticking to it. I admit it…. I’m addicted to my Diet Dr. Pepper, coffee, and my TV shows. And if I give them up — I’m not getting closer to Jesus because of it. So something else has to go. So I thought about Social Media? So many of my friends have given that up. But because I work part time as a social media coordinator that isn’t an option for me either. After praying and praying about this question that has rolled around in my head for the past few weeks this is what I feel has been prompted by the Holy Spirit. He once again spoke to me in that still, small voice saying…..

My child….

  • Give up the negative thoughts you have when you look in the mirror. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
  • Give up trying to be a people pleaser.                                                                                      “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
  • Give up trying to compare yourselves with others around you.                           “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12
  • Give up trying to do everything on your own and lean on me.                              “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”  Proverbs 3:5
  • Give up your distrust that I am answering your prayers. I have answered them before you even asked.                                                                                                 “Before they call I will answer;
        while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
  • Give up your anxieties and worries to me. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
  • Give up the thought that you are not enough.  You are a daughter of a King.  “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1
  • Give up trying to do my job and just do what I have called you to do which is love me first, then love others and shine bright for me so that they too will know me.  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39

So this year for Lent, I’m not giving up something tangible. I am giving up some of the negative thoughts that pop in my head on a daily basis. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus and His Word. I am replacing all of the lies that are whispered to me from an enemy that is real, with the truth from God the Father who has reveled His truth through his love letters to me (The Bible). During this Lenten season, let’s use it as a time to give up what we think we are or have been, with who we can become in Jesus Christ.

 

My response to the Bachelor Fantasy Suites February 2020…

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I have been watching the Bachelor since 2006 when I was a single girl in my apartment dreaming of my own love story. I used to get captivated in the romantic settings, dates, and of course those long dramatic stares into the Bachelor’s eyes…

Now 14 years later I am still captivated by this “reality” TV show because I am a sucker for watching shows about people and how they live. I love watching  and studying their personalities, stories, and their characters.

This season has been less than thrilling, even though Chris Harrison has promised it will be the “most dramatic season yet.” Same old drama between the girls, same internal conflict with the Bachelor who is in love with more than one girl…. nothing new…. or is there?!

Last night we saw Madison, one of the finalists, who has been vocal about her faith through her actions and then last night through her words as well. Madison has not allowed herself to get caught up in the other girls drama and has carried herself through this process with dignity and class. She has also been very strong expressing her convictions to wait to have sex until her wedding night. Since this was the fantasy suite week where the finalists are allowed an overnight date (which allows for a more physical relationship to form – usually sex), Madison had pulled Peter aside and had expressed to him that she wasn’t sure she could continue in this process if he was going to become physically intimate with the other two girls. She didn’t want to give him an ultimatum but wanted him to know where her heart was. Ultimately, Peter chose to spend the night with these other two women in their fantasy suite during their overnight dates and then was upfront with Madison on the evening of their fantasy suite date. She handled herself with grace and poise, even though her heart was breaking because he hadn’t put value on her words a few nights before about her ultimatum. After watching a heartbreaking conversation where she stood very strong in her convictions and didn’t allow her standards to lessen, she eliminated herself from the show.

As I was processing through what just happened on national television, I kept thinking of this verse that has always been a big part of my life (especially through my teenage years). Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Madison just showed Christian girls everywhere that you should value yourself enough to not hold yourself to the world’s standards, but to hold yourself to the standards laid out in the Bible. She also told young women everywhere to value themselves enough to not settle for something less than what you want. She knows her value and wants her future spouse to value her in the same regard.

She didn’t portray it as being an easy choice, because let’s be honest, making the right choice isn’t always the easiest option. She was heart-broken and disappointed. But she knew that Jesus has a plan for her and is trusting in that instead of trusting in her feelings for Peter alone.

As I watched this unfold and processed through it, it gave me hope for my own daughter. I pray that Lucy will someday hold herself to a high standard because she is worth it. Her value shouldn’t just be in what the world (or even her future husband) thinks of her. It should be the value that Jesus places on her. He loved her enough to die on cross for her. He calls her beautiful and His princess. He says in Proverbs 3:5 “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” My prayer is that Lucy will always know that worth and continue to follow God’s standards, not the world’s.

CHALLENGE: This week let’s pray for our daughters and sons. Pray that they will come to know their worth to God and continue to hold themselves to a high standard. Pray that they will go against the grain in this world and shine their lights for Jesus.

Embracing Different Views…

 

It was just another day on social media….

I was scrolling through my news feed looking at everyone’s family Christmas pictures, yummy holiday treats, and all of the happy Holiday happenings when suddenly it was interrupted by….

A POLITICAL POST! (*Cue the psycho theme music)

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It had been a while since I was interrupted with something that broke up the joyful nature of my Facebook feed. But there it was…. Outrage from one of my friends. From that day onward the political posts continued to take over my feed. I could chose to ignore these posts (and sometimes I did unfollow posts of that nature – not unfriend people – just unfollow the political site,) but if you know me at all I am a very passionate person. As hard as I try I like to keep political talk to a minimum, but do enjoy stating my opinion. So I reposted an article that I thought was neutral but it turns out no matter how neutral the post – people on both sides of the fence will commentate.

I realized after watching this political battle on my news feed that I had a pretty even number of friends on both sides of the fence. I had friends that were very liberal and friends that were very conservative. Most of the people that I engaged with on either side of the political spectrum were civil and could get into a healthy debate. A few people were irrational and were just there to argue, but for the most part it was healthy discussion. And after many years of having a Facebook presence I have only had 1 friend block me due to my political beliefs.

It was here that I realized…. I have a very diverse group of friends. This made me happy! I was so glad that I had surrounded myself, not just with people who think like me, but people who had different viewpoints. Sometimes we get into a homogeneous mindset and only want to be around people that think just like us because it’s easier to just pat each other on the back thinking we are the only right way.

Proverbs 18:2 (NIV) says ” Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.” 

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When we surround ourselves with people that don’t always have the same perspective and ideas as us we become challenged. Find people that will ask you the hard questions. We can have people push our ideas and ask questions which in turn can strengthen our own ideas OR can change our perspective to include someone else’s thoughts. Sometimes a mind shift is a good thing! Our eyes may be opened to something else that we didn’t even consider.

I’m not asking you to change your ideas just because someone else says so, but I am challenging you to look through another lens and to walk in someone else’s shoes.

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So as a challenge I ask you to embrace people that don’t always share your viewpoints, whether it involves politics, religion, race, and ideals. Will you rise to the challenge in 2020?

Making a HEART shift….

I knew it was coming…. most kids start this phase in elementary school… but now the question had come up in our household.

Jack had asked for a pet fish… his OWN pet that he would take care of and love. Not an abnormal request, but one we wanted to turn into a learning opportunity. So we made a deal with Jack. If he could make his bed (neatly) for one month every day without being asked or at least not arguing about it, he could have a fish. We explained that this would show us he could be responsible for something in his room. I was excited because maybe this would help him finally master this chore that never seems to get done without a fight.

At first he didn’t do it without being reminded and putting up a fuss. Then he just didn’t want to. But then yesterday I walked by his room before the kids left for school and his bed was MADE! Not just a made bed…. corners perfectly pulled tight, no wrinkles, pillows and stuffed animal arranged neatly, etc! I was in awe! Of course I praised him for the job well done and told him that this was a good start on the way to getting his fish.

Then today…. no attempt made and his bed was left in a messy heap of sheets on top of the mattress. When I asked him if he was going to make his bed he said, “But yesterday I did it SO GOOD that I thought I earned it by just doing it once?!” He truly believed that one day of making his bed perfectly would make up for not doing it the rest of the month.

Isn’t that like so many of us with our daily walk with God?!

“I served at church Sunday, took notes throughout the sermon, and gave above my tithe! God will understand if I can’t get into the Word this week or forget to pray daily.”

Monday morning: The sermon notes are still shoved in my purse, laundry and cleaning had become a priority that morning because of a school obligation I had that afternoon so my Bible study will just have to wait. I say a quick prayer in the car but it’s just a request for my day to go smoothly. By the time I hit the pillow at night I’m so tired that I just tell God “goodnight and that I will talk to Him tomorrow.”

Sound familiar?

Sometimes we can do really good one day and think that it can make up for the other days we miss. While God doesn’t demand perfection, He does want us to give Him our time and efforts. Are we going to Hell because we missed Bible study or forgot to take time to pray that day? No. But we may be cheating ourselves of a more abundant life (or day).

What if God had a Word for you that morning that would have started your day off by calming your soul down? Maybe you wouldn’t have been so anxious about getting things done. Maybe He would have given you the words when you encountered a new classroom mom at school today who just needed a friend. Maybe God just needed your attention to remind you about how much He loves you.

2 Corinthians 8:11 New International Version (NIV) says, Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.”

But I love the translation in the Message….

2 Corinthians 8:11-20 The Message (MSG)

So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands….”

I recently started prioritizing my morning time with God by watching Joyce Meyers on TBN (I DVR it) and listening to a 20 minute teaching where I get to dive in the word. I have tried doing morning devotionals and Bible study, but I just couldn’t get committed to it. I also realize I learn best by seeing and hearing something — so watching a live teaching always does more for me.

At first it was a mind shift that I was going to commit to this and get it done no matter what. But now I WANT to do it and look forward to it. Now my HEART has shifted….. and God is rewarding me for it by giving me a fresh perspective every morning focusing on Him.

 

Are you going to put in the work daily and enjoy the abundance in life God has to offer? Or are you going to put in one or two days a week to check it off your list in hopes of getting God’s reward?

Always work your schedule around Him! So many times I've seen how important this is. We get caught up in our lives so much that we forget to spend time with God. Make Him a part of your life (:

Your reward awaits….

It was just a typical day in the grocery store parking lot. I was ready to tackle the grocery store which is something I actually enjoy doing. Many people hate grocery shopping, but I absolutely love it. Before I came I had spent some time at home in my office making my meal plan for the week, writing my grocery list, and collecting my digital coupons. I was completely prepared for a stress-free shopping trip (without my kids)!

After pulling down the main aisle I saw a woman getting ready to pull out of her parking spot, so I waited patiently with my turn signal on while she began to back out. As I eased forward to pull into the spot another car darted in front of me from the opposite direction, backed up to straighten out, and took my parking spot!

Now I could have reacted like one of my favorite scenes from a favorite movie…..

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If you haven’t seen Kathy Bates in “Fried Green Tomatoes” you really should. Two younger girls pull into the parking spot she is waiting for. She rolls down her window and tells the girls that she was waiting for that parking space in which they reply, “Face it lady, we’re younger and faster.” Instead of moving on to find another spot she decides to floor the gas pedal and rams into the girls’ car repeatedly. The best part of this scene is her response when they scream “What’s the matter with you?” She responds by saying, “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more car insurance.” BEST SCENE EVER!!!

Anyways I decided to not pull a “Towanda” car move, but instead found another spot farther from the door. No big deal right?!

As I was reflecting on this small thing that happened, I kept thinking about how even though I did everything I was supposed to do I still didn’t get rewarded.

I waited patiently for the spot.

I turned on my turn signal to let others know I was going to take the spot.

I gave ample space for the person to back out.

But it still resulted in someone else getting my spot! I had to walk a little farther in the heat of the day. In the words of Stephanie Tanner…. How Rude! But sometimes life is like that. We do all of the right things, but still don’t get the reward.

This reminded me of Matthew 5:10-12,

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” (NLT)

So many times we won’t see the rewards we work so hard for here on Earth. We may never see that the smile we gave someone on the street actually made them feel like their life was worth living. We may never see what happens to the kids we serve in Sunday School. They may go on to share God’s message with others and continue to share God’s love across the globe. We may never see what happens to the people we serve at church that we don’t even know…. it may be their first encounter with what Christ’s hands and feet look like.

But there’s always SOMEDAY! Someday we will be rewarded. Our treasure is in Heaven and God the Father knows when and how we will receive it. We have to continue doing the right thing which is living as Christ taught us and to serve others. We need to be the hands and feet of Christ daily to all we encounter. Even if we don’t see the rewards here on earth, we will see them someday in Heaven!

Resuscitating the Heart…..

Two years ago a part of my heart died…. or at least I felt like it had. It was almost two years ago that I found out the ministry I was working for was closing its doors and we were about to hold our very last conference.  The participants would not know about this decision until a few weeks after the conference had occurred, so we went through the motions with a smile on our face. But in reality, many staff hearts were broken, including mine.

This was the same ministry had revived my heart 5 years prior when I attended my first conference in 2013 as a new mom of two. I was exhausted by the whirlwind of 2012 (adopting our son in January and then finding out we were pregnant months later with our daughter). It was a tiring year, but a fantastic adventure. But with a colicky baby and a one year old who was running all over the place I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  When I sat down at the conference, I was just thankful to take time for myself where I could focus on me and God…. It was a break! But once the conference began, I realized it was more than just a weekend away. It was a fresh start in my heart. Up until then I was in denial that I was experiencing postpartum depression and I was falling into a dark place, even though having kids and being a stay at home mom was my dream that I had finally achieved. It was at that conference that God reached me with His words, reminding me that I was the perfect mom for my children and that it was ok to be perfectly imperfect. That conference changed my whole outlook on life and started my relationship with Jesus back up into high gear. I decided I wanted to become a part of that ministry through volunteering or just promoting it among my friends. I had no idea that God had another opportunity for me to be a part of this ministry. In 2014 He prompted my heart to send in a resume for a job opening at this particular ministry. Within 2 weeks I was working for the ministry that changed my life! How awesome to be able to serve among the women that made such a huge difference in my life. Working in this role I found out was my dream job — getting to serve in ministry and doing something I was truly passionate about! Life was just about perfect.

So it was with great surprise when we found out the ministry was closing just 3 short years after I began working with this amazing group. When my co-worker and I sat down so she could break the news to me at a Starbucks, the room felt like something out of a movie. All I could see was my co-worker and the rest of the world faded away. The world became dim and my heart began to break.  I began to ask God why He would allow something that was so good and so meaningful to so many moms dissipate. And while several of my co-workers saw God work in their lives quickly with other ministry opportunities I still questioned… WHY?!  I even saw other opportunities that He gave me and followed His instruction in serving in them, but I still was grieving the loss of this dream ministry that had been instrumental in my life as a mom, as well as my walk with Jesus.

Here I am 2 years later and the ministry is beginning again with new faces and conference is approaching. As it turns out, I am still grieving. Today I was able to help serve as it starts up again. I was excited for this opportunity even though I was fully aware it would bittersweet and emotional this weekend. But I was shocked today when I realized it wasn’t just emotional… it was HARD! I felt like I could treat this as a new ministry/ conference but that is easier said than done. I missed seeing some of the familiar faces that had been part of my “tribe.” I missed being in that role where I could bless the moms through serving them. Instead I felt like I didn’t know what was going on and out of the loop. It was hard!

So on my drive home this afternoon I began to pray. I prayed over the conference. I prayed over the new staff. I prayed for the volunteers and participants. I prayed for the speakers. I prayed for Jesus to show up as He always had. I prayed… and I prayed… and I prayed. I found myself driving through tears and heard the soft small voice say, “It’s ok to still be not ok.” I expected a change of heart or some small comfort to help me move on, but instead Jesus met me where I was at and said it was ok to feel this way. He also reminded me through His word that “His Will, not mine.”

This weekend as I serve this ministry that is so dear to my heart, I am praying that God uses my hands and feet for His glory. That may look different than I remember, but I have to trust that He is doing good things and wants me to be a part of that. Change isn’t always easy. We may not understand when God takes something away. But we are called to TRUST HIM! So that is how I am going in to this difficult weekend.  I take with me a servant heart, a willing spirit, and a whole lot of trust.

 

What difficult thing has God called you to do? How did you see Him show up in the middle of it?

 

Finding your “Sacred Place”

Finding your Sacred Place

I have always needed a place in my life to just be quiet and still. I needed a place to go where I could be vulnerable and uninhibited. I needed a place to just be with God so I could worship Him, pray to Him, and just be still with Him.

The place I am talking about is “The Sacred Place.”

According to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary the definition of sacred is

“1adedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity,Merriam-Webster dictionary

For many years my sacred place was my car. During my morning and evening commute that time because “sacred” because I could freely dialogue with God about my day. Sometimes I would thank Him for the beautiful sunset, thank Him for being present in my day, or just be still with Him. Other times my car became a sanctuary where I would worship Him in songs, uninhibited and praising Him at the top of my lungs. It was a blessed time during those commutes, many times filled with sweet whispers of that “still small voice in my soul” filling my life with truths.

However once I became a stay-at-home mom and lost my commute time in the car I lost my sacred place. Instead I found myself crying out to God when I was at my breaking point and only going to Him when I needed something. I never took time to be still and just worship with Him.

The first time I found that place again was 3 months after my youngest Lucy was born. I was sitting in my first Hearts at Home conference, a conference for moms of all ages and stages. In the first five minutes I realized that today was all about God and me! It was time carved out so we could be in that sacred place together. So in the midst of 2000 other mothers I found my sacred place that day.

Now that my children are a little older and in school most of the day, I have found my sacred place happens in one of the most unexpected places…. the shower! It is the perfect place! Where do we find ourselves belting out songs of praise with worship leaders like Meredith Andrews and Lauren Daigle at the top of our lungs without abandon??? The shower! We only have an audience of One and He loves it when we worship Him with our any inhibition. We are also at our most vulnerable and completely naked (literally) before our King. No hiding anything here! No trendy clothes that hide our wobbly bits….no makeup to hide behind….. just completely exposed! The best part of this whole thing is that when we are giving ourselves completely in worship to the King here and we become emotional (I tend to cry often when I’m being real and raw with Jesus), the water from my shower washes away my tears.

The shower has come my little sanctuary where I can dialogue with God about anything and worship Him to the full extent! But that shower may not be everyone’s sacred place. I know many women that find their sacred places while running, some go out into a field, some find a quiet place at the park.

Sacred places have been around throughout the Bible as well.

  • Moses had Mount Sinai where He experienced the presence of God in the burning bush.
  • Many men in the Old Testament had the temple (the Holy of Holies) where God lived.
  • Even Jesus found His sacred place where He was vulnerable with God in a small place in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross.

We all need a place where we can commune with God. God wants to meet you where ever it is!

Where is your sacred place where you can meet the King uninterrupted to worship Him?

 

When Christmas Comes Early….

 

When Christmas Comes Early

It’s that time of year again! It’s the holiday season!

I recently came across an article on Facebook about how psychologists have determined that people who decorate early for Christmas are truly happier people. These posts have been posted and re-posted again all over my social media. Being one of those people who can’t wait to start the Christmas season I was excited to find out that my “pre-holiday excitement” is actually good for me! Many of my friends and family members are also in this same state of mind. Then I asked myself

“Why are we as a society so anxious to get the Christmas season started?”

Every year it seems signs of Christmas start showing up earlier and earlier in the retail world. I even got my Hallmark ornament preview invitation as early as June this year! Hobby Lobby and other craft stores begin their holiday sales before school starts. Many other retail stores also begin putting our their Christmas decor/gifts as soon as Halloween ends (give or take a few days).

I know many people don’t like seeing Christmas before Thanksgiving has happened, but for me I have an overwhelming underlying joy from seeing the brightly colored bows, festive green trees, and hearing Bing Crosby singing “It’s Beginning to Look like Christmas” over the speaker system while shopping through the stores. And I don’t feel like I am alone.

Next weekend (the weekend before Thanksgiving) we are decorating our house for Christmas — the tree, the mantle, etc! We will be watching the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movies on repeat and playing all of our favorite nostalgic Christmas tunes! Why? Because of the hope, peace, joy, and love Christmas brings to us all!

As I was reflecting on WHY the world is so anxious for Christmas, myself included, I decided it’s because of what the season means to so many of us. Christmas is a time of advent which is a time when we remember and anticipate the arrival of Jesus. When we light the advent candles they represent our feelings of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. These are things our world desires whether they are celebrating Christmas as Christians or not. It seems that during the holidays people are a little bit kinder or more giving. People smile more and wish each other well! There is an overwhelming season of peace (even when it seems crazy and chaotic).

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

So if you find yourself singing “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World” early this year, is it because you really are desiring and pursuing Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love? Don’t feel guilty because you are celebrating “early” this year….. because we need to celebrate Jesus all year long! Embrace Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love today and everyday —- feel Christmas all year long! Celebrate the Gift that was given to us from our Heavenly Father and share it with all you encounter.

Happy Holiday Season my friends!