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…

Image result for madison peter

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.

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…..

towanda

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!

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?

 

It’s about Corn and Christianity!

3 years ago Chad and I moved our family to his grandfather’s house in the country. We had spent several months renovating it and we finally moved in on a very wet, rainy day in October 2014. Before making this decision to move I had some reservations being a “wanna be city girl” about moving to the country. Being out of town surrounded by corn is a dream to many — but I wasn’t sure at first if it was for me. However I don’t know if I could do it any other way now! I have also begun to look at things differently…. like farming and faith! 

Every other year we have a backyard surrounded by fields of corn and on the off years they are full of soybeans. But this is a corn year! I love the corn because it is beautiful to watch as it grows into its final product tall and strong. 

Out here in the country it is almost always windy to some degree. This summer has been particularly windy when the storms have blown through. After our last storm the corn was positioned sideways but not broken (thank goodness)! I watched in amazement as the corn began to teach me a wonderful lesson about my faith in God. 

As I watched the corn recover from that storm I began to see how we are like a stalk of corn. Many times storms of this life come along and try to break us completely taking the very life out of us. However check out how in these photos the corn didn’t break because it strong and held fast by its deep roots! The corn is bent but not broken. Sometimes we get slightly bend out of shape by the storms of life but we hold fast to our roots in our faith and it holds us strong. 

Are you bent out of shape from the storm? Holding fast to your roots?
Next I noticed that the corn began to bend up towards the sun. We too, like the corn, reach towards our Father God in Heaven. When we look up to Him we begin to take new shape and rise up to a new creation (one that is not perfect but has character and strength)!
Turn your face to the Son. Let Him lift you up out of the storm. 
Last I noticed not all of the corn was able to stand on it’s own. It was leaning on the other stalks of corn for support. Sometimes as we walk through storms of this life we need to lean on each other for support. That is where the church comes in. We are a family of faith — there to support those in need. Even after someone has gone through the storm we need to help and support them as they re-calibrate their life and reach towards the Son. 
We need to support each other through the storms. 

Questions: 
  • How have you been “bent out of shape” by the storms of this life? 
  • Did you reach up towards your Heavenly Father? How did He help strengthen you and stand you back up on your feet again?
  • Do you have a support system? Is it your church family? Your closest friends? Family?