Favorite Things Monday: Celebrations Edition

Let’s celebrate people! It’s worth it to love them and be loved by them. It’s not safe but it is everything.

Today, I want to celebrate someone else that means a whole lot to me. God really can do a lot with a family if he let Him. It’s flat out miraculous. It’s the BEST. My Aunt Sharon married my Uncle Ron when I was 7. He claimed us, we claimed him and the rest is history. A LOT of history.  

This side of a couple of months ago, he had a health scare that shook me. When the texts read, “pray for your Unca’ Ron”, I prayed (and yes, thats how I spell it and he started it). When the texts read, “this is not good, he can’t form his words”, I wept. I prayed. I believed. I knew it was a big deal when he didn’t check himself out of the hospital. He is strong and determined, some may say stubborn like that. It runs in the family. When God builds a family, sometimes you don’t share DNA but you take on each others character traits.

He’s the reason I appreciate good coffee and know it is best served with a little splash of heavy cream. He’s also the reason I hate paper plates and will opt for glass every time. When me and my sisters were little, he bought us a go-cart. Like, a for real go-cart. He did a scavenger hunt around the house and had this dream gift in the garage. THE BEST. He had named it Speedy Pete. He included helmets.

There are so many reasons I can list but there is something in particular that still makes me cry.

It never, not one time ever occurred to me that maybe I couldn’t do something because I’m a woman. Not one time. The first time I ever heard that women shouldn’t or couldn’t be in leadership in the church or be a pastor…whatever you want to put here…was in bible college…by other students. I wasn’t friends with these people. Who has time for that?! It breaks my heart and you better believe there is this giant part of my heart that feels a responsibility to speak into the lives of women who have been told otherwise.

I come from a long and strong line of women who love God and serve His church, often in leadership and pastoral roles. My grandma would still be preaching if she could. I grew up seeing my Aunt Sharon in her office at the church where she led a huge single’s ministry…and that’s not the half of it. I have cousins that are powerhouse worship leaders.

To quote my mom, “now it is just all fluff”. She’s right. There is a lot of noise that tries to stop us. Unfortunately for those who seek to silence, I not only come from a long and strong line of women, I come from some incredible men who have loved and challenged me and pushed me towards Jesus.

But my Unca Ron? He put the microphone in my hand and said to speak. He wasn’t content to only let me sing a song but pushed me beyond that. As a teenager. At church. In front of people. He didn’t ask if I wanted to. He didn’t ask if I had anything to say. I learned to be ready. It wasn’t a suggestion, he wasn’t hesitant and he didn’t apologize if I felt put on the spot. It was a demand to speak to the people what God was doing or what God was saying. He sat and waited. As a young teenager, I learned to read the bible with an inquisitive eye and a listening ear. He taught me well, then followed through with pushing me forward. I remember being 15 and believed in. Every girl should be surrounded with that kind of love and confidence. So let’s show our sons and daughters well and push them forward. It’s everything.

I am so grateful that Christmas came and so did time with my family. I have never been more grateful for a time to sit and talk to my Unca Ron…and praise God, he had the words to speak back to me. He is well (very well) on his way to a full recovery. He has his words again. I’m so grateful that he helped show me mine.

 

 

 

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Favorite Things Monday: God Can Can Edition

I’m gonna get straight to the point today.

2017 was weird. There was a lot of good but you can often tell how a year went overall when it’s over and you are looking back.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and when I could, it still didn’t make any sense. At least not at first. We can see a little more clearly now. In the last 6 month we walked through a season of discouragement unlike anything I have ever felt before. Moments that were supposed to be restful didn’t leave us feeling rested. I felt as if I was grieving things I would typically celebrate. It knew at it’s peak that there was another side to what we were feeling but I was also confident that the Lord wasn’t going to just lift that weight but carry us through. And that is exactly what happened. He carried us through. There wasn’t one moment that marked the end of that season, there were several by the time I felt we were on the other side. But what I do know, is that the Lord is so faithful. It was a year of realizing that lies about God’s heart had set up residence in mine. His heart is so good. Lies and fear are sneaky…but His perfect love casts out fear. Discouragement can make you weary. Disappointment can weigh on you. Passion stirring in your heart is costly. But my God, He is so faithful…and His love is so perfect.

So how do you head into a new year when the last one left you more than just worn out?

I will say, we are excited about 2018. We feel prepared. We are expectant. So we gave the year the can.

Literally.

At Central City Austin, we call it the “God Can” can.

We kicked off a new sermon series, have a lot coming up and we are excited. I mean, really excited. But this series kicked off with a message that stated three things:

I Can: Follow Christ

We Can: Make a Difference

God Can: Do the Miraculous

That last one… it has gotten me all kinds of worked up. The first two are so important and this giant desire in my heart but as I walk them out, I need that last one in ways I have limited in the past. I want to see God move and I am ready to drop kick my limits on how He wants to do that. I want the “not by might, not by power but by MY spirit says that Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). We serve this God who moves mountains. He wants to on our behalf. And we need Him to more than ever before.

So we got bold. What are we believing God for in 2018? As a church, as a family, as a church leadership team, as friends who hold each other up… what are we believing God for in 2018?

I don’t even have a picture of it for reference but we have the God Can can. We went old school and wrote things down and put them in a can. We can’t wait to pull papers out of that God Can can and see the answered prayers. There is nothing too big and there is no such thing as small and silly when it comes to asking for the miraculous (we limit it all…). May we know His heart and His love in ways we have never before in 2018. Knowing that makes you a bit more bold. Or a lot.

This Sunday was bold. Really bold. It felt like a really great start to a new year. We have this big ole God Can can…and we believe that God can do the miraculous. This isn’t fluff, this isn’t hype, this is my God who is good and faithful and true to His word and His people. He doesn’t fail. We have had seasons of waiting but that does not affect His ability. We have had seasons with unanswered questions but that doesn’t affect His love. He is the God of the exceedingly abundantly, above and beyond… and I want that. Not mine, His.

Maybe you need your own God Can can. We aren’t done filling it. But this we know, He is the God of the miraculous and He will do it.

 

 

 

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Favorite Things: Year End Review

Hello Friends

I have missed you.

This isn’t so much a year recap, more like a “where did you go for a whole month”. Welcome to the last bit of random from 2017. I’m not sad to see 2017 go and welcome a brand new year. We love the new and the bold stirring in our hearts as we step into 2018.

The holiday season came in like a wrecking ball. I had never in my life felt more behind. In reality, I hadn’t been more behind. This includes the year where we had just started a church and Ray ended up in the hospital needing two blood transfusions just a couple weeks before Christmas. Then again, that is the kind of thing that stops everything in it’s tracks and not much else matters. It’s really wrong of me to compare but I still do. This past month was just all of life all over the place. There was a lot of good but a lot is a lot regardless. We managed to get all the things done, all the gifts wrapped, get to Georgia to spend some much needed time with my family and make it back to Austin in one piece (with a couple of colds and coughs to go with it…but we made it). That drive is far. But those people God gave for me to call family are worth it.

With the hustle and bustle things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. I am confident that we did no more than 6 days of Advent as a family. Six days may be me being a little generous. I know for sure that we did 5. I did the She Reads Truth study on my own and still had to use those blessed grace days that they include to get caught up. I am really glad that my kids know what Christmas is all about because I am pretty sure they got more Advent-type reading watching Charlie Brown this year. Since life doesn’t slow down unless you make it, we may have to rearrange when we do things next year. Lesson learned. Again.

Our church did our annual tacos and coffee outreach with the homeless community downtown. We do different things throughout the year but this is one that we do every year on the Sunday before Christmas. I kind of love that a big group of us show up for church service post-outreach and looking like we have been outside all morning. This has never been what we do to do our good deed. This isn’t something we do so we can pat ourselves on the back. I think there was one picture that Katie got and it was of our backs as we were pouring coffee and prepping hot chocolate. I love how our kids love this. I love how they see people and how that challenges me. We do because we have to do something and we won’t let overwhelming need stop us from starting. Love your neighbor. It’s simple. Sometimes it seems small and sometimes it seems really big. Both matter. And sometimes loving your neighbor looks like tacos, coffee and hot chocolate (and bus passes and other things…but we start with tacos and go from there…that is a life lesson if I have ever heard one).

Every year is different. Every year we learn something new. Every year we learn to love better than before. We look at the past and say good-bye to what we must and say a giant HELLO to the new.

I have some things in the works…including a lot more Favorite Things for 2018. Let’s do this!

 

 

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Favorite Things Monday: The Darkness Has Not Overcome It Edition

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life, and life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

I think this is typically a verse that we read as we head into the Advent season. I love John chapter 1 because of the plain and simple, straight forward verbiage. The Word has come, Christ has come, he is Emmanuel, literally God WITH us. And with that, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

We are fresh out of Thanksgiving (the holiday, not the act of giving thanks) and Christmas is fast approaching. We have a couple of weekends of soccer tournaments ahead of us, and there are a few behind us. We have had great cause for celebration. That’s always good. There have been moments over the last couple of weeks where life felt incredibly fragile. I realized that I wasn’t overcome by fear but I will tell you, it felt so fragile. The pendulum swung far and fast and for really good and really really difficult reasons. Back and forth…

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

These words are true today. These words were true a few weeks ago. They are always true. Sometimes we have more opportunity to see it, that light blasting through the darkness. Sometimes we don’t see it right away but it is still true. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He came for us. Darkness has not overcome it.

It was good to have a few days to give thanks, run a race and spend some time with my family. I liked being under the same roof, watching Hallmark movies, enjoying a twinkle light filled house and relaxing with my people. Today was a little shock to the system. My eyes felt a little computer screen fried. There is a lot coming up to look forward to including one of my favorite times of the year. Cephas got really excited thinking that Sunday was the first day of Advent. I almost hated to tell him he had one more week. In hindsight, I should have just gone with it.  Advent has made Christmas that much more special for us as a family. It isn’t close to any definition of perfect but it has become something that is special to us. As much as my kids love the expectation and anticipation of Christmas, I need the time that forces me to be still so that I can sit in the anticipation of Christmas. I can get busy and distracted and then end up missing it and then it’s time to pack everything up till next year.

Maybe you haven’t done Advent before. Whether that is on your own, with friends or with your kids, I encourage you to do that this year. I’ll post later this week with some resources and things that we love and some traditions that my kids appreciate. I don’t care if you are single or married, no kids or fill an SUV, I love little things that slow me down (even if there are kids running around) and make this time extra special. I love to walk that road of scripture, to remember that the Word became flesh and dwells among us. Christ came. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He was perfection, born into our mess…then steps into our mess and changes everything.  And the darkness has not overcome it.

 

 

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Favorite Things Monday: Great Is Your Faithfulness Edition

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart…

Mine could burst. We have been so busy our feet are tired before we are out of bed, but the gratitude is real.

Our church Fall-O-Ween Fest was Saturday. Thanks to a friend with a back-up tu-tu, I managed to accidentally be Ace Ventura. It was the best Halloween costume. That night was amazing. Our team is the GREATEST! Hands down, no joke, no contest. We are so grateful for them.

Our church honored Ray and I for Pastor’s Appreciation on Sunday. God really is THIS good! He really does surround us with people THIS amazing! He really does call us to each other…and that my friends, is the good stuff.

Today, is Monday but it doesn’t stop me from taking in the weekend. In what has been a crazy season, Sunday about took my breath away.

We ended out worship on Sunday with ‘Do It Again’ by Elevation Worship. We have sung and declared those words a lot over the last few months and I keep going back to it. There is something about declaring God’s faithfulness. I am reminded of who He is and who I am. I am forced to look behind me in awe and ahead with fresh confidence. We’ve seen our God move mountains, make a way where there was no way…and He will do it again.

“Your promise still stands. Great is your faithfulness. I’m still in your hands, this is my confidence, you’ve never failed me yet”.

The words “great is Thy faithfulness” will get me every time. Every. Single. Time. They are words that my mom played over and over again while I was growing up. They are the words she would write on the cover of journals and where we would see it on the fridge and just about everywhere else I could look. I know the words to the hymn. I know the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir version of that song like the back of my hand. The older I get, the more they make me cry.

Sunday morning came and so did those words. Over and over again like a fire in my bones… Great is Your Faithfulness, GREAT is your faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says it like this: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

His promises still stand. He does not fail. Those mercies…and am forever grateful that they don’t run out and He doesn’t give up on us.

 

 

 

 

 

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Favorite Things Monday: You Are Braver Than You Think Edition

Happy Monday Everyone!

You made it. I made it. I didn’t just survive Monday, I made it through a Monday with both kids having check-ups. It was a necessary evil when they were little. They are much better as big kids but it’s still a struggle. Today, they had me laughing till I thought I would cry and allowed me the chance to say “stop it” one hundred times. When your kids doctor tells your nine year old to “look straight at me” and she crosses her eyes because she knows she’s cute…Jesus help me! Cephas had to get 2 shots. Turns out that when it comes to needles, 12yr olds turn into mush. He made the goofiest face I have ever seen him make and me Sophia are still laughing about it. There was laughter and tears and everyone is healthy. We have no complaints.

It’s a Monday that tried to take me out. It didn’t. There is more going on in this wild heart of mine than I can even stand and it makes Monday feel like a giant stinky Monday.

You know what happened today? Christine Caine happened. I was casually listening to the Relevant Podcast, when WHAM! When putting one foot in front of another with a fire in my heart feels like the hardest thing, it isn’t. Even when it feels like it is…like this season I am in right now. I want to take 20 steps instead of focussing on one at a time.

“What I have been called to do has to proceed what do I feel like doing. I don’t ask myself how I feel anymore, I just follow what I have been called to do”.

And she is freaking Christine Caine. I had nothing to say to that. It was true. I think of all the areas that that flows into.

Sometimes it is putting one foot in front of the other. It’s obedience. It’s doing the next right thing or the last thing that God told you to do.

It has just felt like a doozy of a few months it almost seems unfair. Nothing has slowed down at all…not even for a second, then there are the things happening outside of my world. The news…Jesus take the wheel! I have ranted about what feels like forced negativity (Jeff. Rossen. Reports…I see you and your bad news bears) and have been heartbroken over the rest of it.

News moves so big and so fast I can hardly keep up. Sadly, when something hits big on a Monday, by the next week it feels like it was all so long ago. Of course, it only feels like a long time ago when it isn’t your story. Last week was the uprising of #metoo. Women saying that they have either been sexually harassed or assaulted. I get that those are two different things but in the same vein. It was huge. It was everywhere. What had been hidden in darkness was being brought to light and for some, for the first time. It hit me hardest when I saw my college roommate post her #metoo. I remember the day, I remember what she said happened, I remember threatening to hunt another student down, I remember her crying. I remember how she didn’t say anything, afraid she would get in trouble. I remember when she said she would have reported it at a later time had this person still been a student. I know how the 30-something year old versions of us would respond and only wish that the late-teen/early 20’s had understood.

I get to surround myself with incredible men and women who are quick and bold and brave and share their stories. Their bravery to tell what they have done and/or what has been done to them is awe-inspiring. They point me to Jesus every time. It can be scary but saying it anyway is worth it every time. If #metoo is part of your story, my hope is that you find the freedom of what happens when light is shed on darkness.

I have watched God use a willing voice and vulnerability to break an entire room of pretense. So speak. Where there is injustice or silence because of past injustices, speak. Maybe that is the first step to you being free. There is likely someone waiting on someone else to go first…to show them what brave and vulnerable looks like. To show them that people will love and meet them where they are.

One foot in front of the other in obedience. Let’s not underestimate that. Your voice? Don’t hide it. Don’t silence it. Don’t dismiss it. You are braver than you think and your strength is not your own.

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Favorite Things Monday: Day Off Edition

Hello Everyone!

Hello Monday!

I did something today that I rarely get to do. I took a day off for no reason other than that I desperately needed a day off. We had plans for later this month that we cancelled for the sake of margin, other people’s schedules, our kids schedules and to be honest, our own sanity. Today was a day off that wasn’t a holiday and it didn’t count against my paid time off at work. And I loved every bit of today.

I wasn’t super crazy productive. I didn’t spend hours working on something else or taking on some huge organizing project. I got to enjoy coffee on the lake with my husband, lunch out and a trip to Costco…BECAUSE I COULD. Now I get to sit and study over the verses in my head, write and answer questions about math homework. They may seem like little things to be grateful for but in life’s crazy seasons, they end up being the really big things.

Do I wish every Monday were like this? Yes. Yes I do. I really do. Today, I’m grateful for this one and the space to breathe. I needed to do that one simple thing.

I don’t want to fall into this trap that I feel is specifically laid out for me. It’s like those tire spikes along entrances to important places that as long as you drive over them the right way, you are fine but backup or go the wrong way and you get to replace your tires. It can be the thing I look over or the thing that stops me and costs me time and heart.

I wish every Monday was like today. It isn’t. I wish every cap on a full weekend was another day to catch my breath. Not so much.

All of us are in trenches of some sort. Some are more seen than others. So to you my friend, I see you. You aren’t alone. I’m fighting this unseen message tooth and nail and thanks to this pesky book that tends to keep calling my name, I keep going back to John 12.

So go there with me for a minute.

I’m a bit obsessed with Mary Magdalene right now. I like to think of her as this woman who just gave the stink eye to cultural norms of that day and kept trucking but she was so much more than that. This past week I have been looking at her life. This is a woman who sat at a position of learning from Jesus. She sat at his feet. In John 12 she gives what others say is a waste and washes his feet in an act of worship. The oil she used was costly. She gave him her security. She was at the foot of the cross at the crucifixion. She was the woman at the empty tomb that Jesus called by name. She saw him first. She did that culture stink eye thing again and went and declared that HE WAS RISEN INDEED.

We have a woman in a culture that did not value her. She had the boldness to do and be and go and speak and for Mary, it is easy to say that it was because of where she had been willing to sit. I have tried to put myself in her shoes. I can’t without all of the details. You guys know I love details. I can’t just see a woman declaring a risen Savior without seeing her worship, her wait (OUCH), her surrender and her pain at the foot of the cross.

All of it. The whole story. Every big and seemingly small detail comes together to write a story that only God could have put together. I want His story in my life. I would have taken the easy way out and missed the whole point…

Pardon me today as I need the reminder, yet again, of how all of these little things matter but what makes me who I am are not the moments everyone sees. I’m not a fan of things messing with me but I’m learning to lean into this one.

 

 

 

 

 

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Favorite Things Monday: WebMD Lies and All Things New Edition

Why no Monday post? Date night won. Date night at home. We got to sit and breathe in the same space, alone and it was fantastic. We watched Hidden Figures. Stop everything and watch it right now if you haven’t.

Now back to my post…

This past Wednesday was our First Wednesday service. The first Wednesday of every month we gather to eat, pray and worship together. I love it. It is one of my favorites.

This month, I got to bring the message. I knew what it would be long before Ray told me I was up.

I won’t go into all the details right now but I did want to bring up one thing here. In addition to this, we just wrapped up a 5 week sermon series called ‘Re-Brand’. It has been a lot of talk about the Church, the old temple model vs the Jesus model…how Jesus changes everything and a big emphasis on how we love one another matters. It’s been a rich 5 weeks. I highly recommend listening to all 5 weeks online. Read this, then listen here. Also, my husband said that Jesus was the greatest feminist, so you need to listen. Jesus absolutely went against culture and called women up and out and to…and Ray talked about it (and a lot of other things). Jesus changes everything. We say that a lot around here and we mean it even more than the frequency in which those words are spoken.

He changes everything, right? Yes. Including the things that no one sees but the things that affect the way that we see.

There are so many things that get in our way of seeing God for who He really is. There are things that get in the way of seeing each other and loving each other like Jesus. There are a lot of things that get in the way of the church being the church and knowing how we all fit together.

Lies. There are a lot of them. Some of them are far more obvious than others. I think there are WebMd lies….the ones where with one symptom and two seconds and the move of a mouse you are dying for sure. There are those lies, then there are the really sneaky ones. Some of us need freedom from the WebMd stuff too… it’s all overwhelming.

For me, there was a sneaky one. Maybe you have walked my road or didn’t realize it before and you do now. It took God showing me that there was a lie in my heart that I believed about His heart for me. It’s His kindness that leads to repentance, it’s his perfect love that casts out fear and that combination can open our eyes to see and expose what was hidden. He is just that good. That’s exactly what He has done for me.

What I believe about God’s heart matters. How it is rooted in my heart matters. If my God is what cannot be shaken, then I only have room for the truth. Lies affect our wonder. It affects our prayers, worship and how we love our neighbor.

I have no time or space for that mess. So can we get a little bossy and bold together? I think one of the bravest prayers in the bible is in Psalm 139. I’ll pray it and mean it, join me?

Search me, Oh God and know my heart

Test me and know my anxious thoughts

See if there be any offensive way in me

And lead me in the way everlasting.

I can trust my God with what He shows me. He is the one who puts it all in order and back in place and molds and shapes us. He forgives, restores and makes all things new.

Let’s pray the bold and bossy prayers…

Who’s with me?

 

 

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Favorite Things…Tuesday: Love So Much It’s Shocking Edition

I woke up this morning with an abundance of gratitude in my heart. It’s my cousin Rhonda’s birthday! You guys…I am confident that 50 has never looked so good!

I wanted to share just a few of the giant ways she has shaped my life, shown me Jesus and pushes me forward as an adult. The older I get, the more grateful I become. The older I get, I realize just how insane it must have been to have been in the middle of raising small children and have your 14yr old cousin sleeping in your living room (even before my mom and sisters moved in). Today, it made me cry. Rhonda was about my age when I was moving out of her house, taking a gap year (that’s not what you called it then) and off to college. That is insane. And listen, this didn’t start when I was a teenager.

We live in a day and age when people have suddenly realized that it is healthy to talk about their struggles. The only weird part about this to me is how this seems to be ground breaking when it was always normal. I remember Rhonda singing and crying, then telling the church about her struggle with postpartum depression. I was 14 and on the front row. I remember her vulnerability and how important it was and what it broke through. She was so strong to me then.

She let me see her life. She let me see her struggle. She let me see Jesus be enough. She sang the songs in her home long before she sang them in public. She lived them out then…she lives them out now.

She taught me the beauty of home and inviting others into it. That you really can make a difference in someones life at a kitchen table and comfy couches in a living room (and a thousand other moments and places….I used to love to sit on the kitchen floor). Who knew that running errands and noise and kids and chaos would be a cherished memory that makes me cry.

She continues to be who God has made her to be and it continues to point me right back to him. Her loss has been great. I hate that she isn’t getting a birthday hug from Caleb. I really really hate that. She has not let the worst of the worst pain stop her…and it breaks my heart and fills it with joy at the same time. Love people so much like Jesus that it’s shocking.

I believe that small things like cozy blankets, perfectly scented candles and a freshly vacuumed living room is enough to cure what ails you, even if for just a moment. I still think that the right happy lipstick can boost a mood and your whole face. It never occurred to me that you had kids then stopped fixing your hair or putting on real clothes. A day in pj’s was never something to apologize for but those were the days were would turn on the A/C and the fireplace. I have a hilarious appreciation for 90’s soap operas. We laughed hysterically and I still appreciate it. And that isn’t the half of it.

Hey Rhonda Lucas! I love you SOOOO much!!!! The best is yet to come!!!!

 

We are who we are in part because of the people around us. I am grateful for the family that set the stage for my life. I am grateful for an incredible church leadership team, an amazing church, a fierce family and amazing friends. My kids are seeing this now. Life happens in the crazy of it all and in it we get to see Jesus be enough.

 

I tried to write last night. I really did. I wanted to. I couldn’t because yesterday was too much. After a beautiful and fun and incredibly long weekend, we woke up Monday morning to the news in Las Vegas. I just didn’t know what to write in light of it. Love always wins. Love is always greater than hate. Sometimes horror knocks on the front door but the truth of love and the love of Jesus still wins.

 

 

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Favorite Things Monday: It’s All Grace and Sometimes It’s Messy Edition

Before I get into all the favorite things, I gotta brag on my girl. I love this whole kids playing sports thing. I really do. She heard other parents yelling at her this weekend. I think it may have been the first time she heard the opposing teams parents yelling and she knew it was at her. I didn’t know this was happening until another one of our parents told me. Sophia’s reaction? While I don’t think the two goals she scored hurts matters, she was beaming. She said she wanted to yell back “your words just make me stronger”. I hope she does.

Last week was a doozy. Some weeks sneak up on you unexpectedly and hit like a freight train. Sometimes the tension in your heart and the ache in your gut don’t go away after 20 minutes of worship music or time in prayer. Last week, I knew that I knew that God was with me…right there in the midst of the tension, the questions, the angst and that pesky ache that had no intention of leaving me.

I get that this sounds honest and maybe a little morbid. It wasn’t as if anything in particular happened. That makes it sound more strange… Life and ministry are full and sometimes all of the seen and unseen, the joy and disappointment, the awe and wonder and the hurt and frustration all collide in my heart. It’s all grace and sometimes it’s messy.

I’m grateful for a few things.

  1. Friends who pray with you at the drop of a hat. Friends who will hold you up and speak life and encouragement. Friends who are grateful for your honesty and find encouragement by your hot-mess self. Friends who are different…think different, act different respond different and still love a whole lot like Jesus even when they don’t realize it. It’s the good stuff.
  2. The Psalms. I’m sure when David was writing psalms of lament, he didn’t think we would be using it as a road map on how to handle grief, anger, frustration and fear. I’m sure it would have looked quite tidy. That’s not real life. When I need to air it all out and when I just need to declare that my God has me, the psalms cover it.
  3. My Sunday morning before worship practice was a time for me to hash it out with the Lord in prayer. It was a place where I was reminded of His faithfulness and I could remind Him of His promises. The make-up was about gone before I ever stepped foot into the building on Sunday morning. But my God is faithful. He can handle it. Not only that, He delights in me and I wasn’t going anywhere. I found that the safest place to fall apart is the same place He is with me and puts me back up on my feet.
  4. I started reading Unseen by Sara Hagerty. I thought I would fly through it…I was wrong. I probably could except that she keeps calling me out, as if by name. That’s not my favorite part but it has been like medicine for my soul. Her first book is one of my absolute favorites. Read them both, grab tissues and get ready.

Whatever it is, He’s got you. This truth isn’t some band-aid over a problem…it’s everything.

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