I messed up. Like really messed up. It’s the type of mess up that makes me ashamed of myself and makes me question who I am as a Christian and if there isn’t some secret fleshy part of me that still is able to dip my toe into the darkness. It’s the kind of screw up that made me feel completely unworthy to partake in communion. It’s in these messy fleshy moments that I’m reminded how desperately I need my Savior because if left to my own devises I surely would fail. Today, Resurrection Day holds even more significance to me as I grapple with my shortcomings. I am so humbled and grateful that Jesus bore my sins on that cross in Golgotha. He loved me and took me as I am…a sinner and wrapped me in his grace, forgiveness, love and led me out of darkness onto a path of light.
Today, as I sat in tears in church he tenderly reminded me that this is why he died for me. He died for my messiness, my mistakes, my sin, my disobedience and he covered me with his blood and his grace. There is no sin big enough that can take his love away for me. I love how God gently teaches us even when we deserve his wrath. My lesson came when the Lord rolled back the curtain. He gave me a glimpse into my past, the pain, the shame and the emptiness of living in a world that I outgrew through the love of Christ and asked, “Do you really want to go back?” The answer in my spirit was a resounding no. Just like a forgiving Father he restored me. He stripped away the guilt and shame and allowed me to rest in him fully and securely. The ultimate sacrifice on cross gave me the ultimate freedom. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus!
This election season has unfortunately brought out some unprecedented nastiness. Our nation is undeniably under attack not by another nation, but by our very own citizens. We have turned against one another in the most unloving of ways. It is as though a dark cloud filled with anger, frustration and fear is about to burst with an intensity that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that when we respond to each other with a gentle answer we can turn away wrath.Words carry power and that power can be used to build or to tear down, to draw near or to separate, to show respect or to disrespect. In this season of our nation, I pray that regardless of your political party affiliation, that we remember that our primary affiliation is being followers of Jesus Christ. As followers, let’s reflect his love towards all people, let’s answer with kindness and gentleness. If we have an opportunity to diffuse anger than let’s do it because we are all here together. So, before we get all fired up, let’s step back and ask, “What would Jesus do?”
I’m always enchanted by the trees during my morning walk. Especially, now as fall begins to settle in, I’m left in complete awe of how the leaves change slightly every day, how they shed off the tree and go through their own metamorphosis. The season forces the trees to change, however it doesn’t change their structure. Regardless, whether it is a gentle autumn breeze or a brutal winter wind that forces it to stand bare and naked, its stature remains. Today, gazing up at the tip-top of the tree with the clouds bearing in behind, I thought about the similarities between us and trees. In some seasons we are full, abounding with fruit, colorful, and beautiful to look at, and then there are those difficult seasons. We all know those seasons well, where we stand vulnerable, stripped of our protection, and fragile as the coldness of life sweeps over us. But, we are still standing. We may not be the prettiest to gaze upon, but there is still beauty in our steadfastness, our nakedness, and our truth. The clouds may surround us but we’re still reaching for the top. There is exquisiteness in both our fruitful and barren seasons, if we stay standing, keep reaching, and believe in the roots that keeps us grounded in our faith that God will see us through.
Happy Over the Hump Day!
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I can’t believe 2015 is coming to a close! Usually around this time I start evaluating my year. What did I do? What were the highlights? Did I make good choices? Did I make poor choices? Am I happy with my spiritual growth? It’s basically a year in review recap of my life. I find myself asking God to reveal to me areas of my life he wants me to work on, to give me a clean heart, and for wisdom. This was an interesting year full of peaks and valleys some very unexpected dips that shook me up a bit. But, as always God has a way of pulling me through and giving me exactly what I need when I need it, I bet he does that for you too, right? This time it has come in the form of a Ladies’ Bible Class at my church on Sunday. There are a few reasons I already love this class. First are the teachers. They are so down to earth and facilitate the class in a way that makes you want to stay for a couple hours more long after the bell has rang! Of course there are the lovely ladies I get to fellowship with in class. Then the material was really a hook for me! Have you ever heard of Donna Partow’s book, “Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be, A 90 Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life,”? If you haven’t then I’m so glad you are reading this post because you need to run out right now and get it so you can dive in with me! Donna takes you through a 90 day journey and challenges you to stick with it while moving you towards the path of living a better life…one that God wants you to live!
This book gives a holistic plan that covers all areas of your life…spiritual, physical, relational and emotional. With a new year upon us this is the perfect book to read to make those changes we all say we want to make when December 31st hits. More than ever I’m realizing how fleeting time is and that I have a purpose that needs attention! Have you been feeling that way? I know that change starts with me growing closer to God, but I love how He keeps putting his helpers in my path. There is something so powerful about women’s bible studies and women getting together in general to discuss and support one another in their spiritual walk. I’m going not just into 2016 with an attitude of renewal, but into my life with the confidence that God is working in me to do his will and that I am capable of doing it! That is the life I want to live.
If you live in the DC metro area I want to invite you to join our bible study on Sundays at 11:15 AM to 12:00 PM, at the Silver Spring Church of Christ at 100 East Franklin Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20901. I would love to see you and study the word together!
Lately I’ve been going through somewhat of a difficult season in my life. I’ve been feeling attacked on many fronts, but my spirit has taken a beaten. Without going into too much personal detail I will say that I’ve felt distant from my church, I’ve questioned friendships, and even my own spiritual disciplines have been lacking. The enemy loves to distract us, plant seeds of doubt and make us question our very own spiritual foundation and relationship with Christ and our brothers and sisters. He’s been busy with me and to be honest he’s been having a good old time. Last night I asked God to give me peace and to guide my footsteps. I feel like a big old vacuum has just sucked the joy sucked away from my heart and it has left me completely exhausted, drained, and sad.
Well, when God speaks to you, boy does he speak to you. Last night I had a dream that I was in church and all the seats were taken. Even my daughter was sitting down, but there were no empty seats for me. I was left standing and just looking around. Finally, I thought I’ll just leave. I wasn’t going to take my daughter away from her seat, I planned on waiting for her (which is so significant because my daughter loves church) I was turning to walk away and my minister in a loud voice said, “Don’t you dare to quit church.” WOW! I knew exactly what God was saying to me! God spoke directly to me on a prayer that my heart was so conflicted about that only God could guide me on and no one else. In my spirit I know that God isn’t only talking about the physical church but my relationship with Him. In my heart I have no doubt he is telling to me to stay grounded, to keep strong in my faith, and not to give up and let enemy get a foothold.
I hope in sharing this with you that it is a reminder that God does speak to us. Be still and wait… then my sweet sisters listen to him and find rest in his answers. God is awesome and this morning I was reminded that he is right next to me in all his love and grace in abundance.
A few years ago I wrote an article for Just Between Us Magazine entitled, “The Legacy That Matters Most.” I wrote about the spiritual legacy my grandma left me and how it has inspired me to be intentional about the leaving one for my daughter. I’ll be writing more in-depth about how I think you can do this in the future, but today I want to share one simple way. When you go to church, if you’re like me I write notes about the sermon. I have a journal and I’ll write the name of the sermon, the date and my notes. It is amazing how these journals start to increase as each year passes and I’m always blessed when I read back over them. So I’m building a library of sorts for Anya of ‘Sermon Notes’ that I’ll eventually give to her. I think this is a wonderful way to pass down a blessing to your loved ones and all it requires is going to church and taking notes to enrich your spiritual life as well!
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Wow, what a busy week. It started with travelling last Thursday and it has been a rollercoaster since then. I had a ton of work, a sick kid, then a sick mom (me!) so when Wednesday rolled around I was thrilled to be going to church for bible study. I contemplated staying home because I wasn’t feeling well, but my little accountability partner encouraged me to suck it up and get there, so I did. I am so thankful that I went to fellowship with my church family. I don’t know about you, but walking into church, settling into a seat and opening up the word of God just warms my soul. It reminds me of how sacred my relationship with the body of Christ is in my life. I love my other friends too, but there is something so special about that bond.
When we were leaving one of the sisters said to me that she was thinking of me, praying for me and that how I was a blessing. Wow! I needed that encouragement! Lately, I’ve been feeling off. Does that ever happen to you, when you know you aren’t spending the time you need to with God? Life is busy, but I know that if I let it get in front of my relationship with God, it all starts coming apart at the seams. Sometimes I ask myself am I really maturing in my faith? Do I serve? Do I glorify God in my life (there were a few times this past week I didn’t)? It all comes back to me spending time with God and listening to his will for me and being obedient. It isn’t always easy is it? I slip up, I sin, and then I think to myself what is your problem?? That’s when I can get really down on myself, but how does God work? He brings to me a sweet sister in Christ to lift me up. God is good isn’t he? It reminds me how important it is to give encouragement to one another on our walk with Christ and to lift each other up. I also thought about how people are watching our actions, interactions, and words and to be mindful of them because you never know how they can affect someone.
We all need encouragement, so please if you are thinking of someone or praying for them let them know! You will make their day and maybe help them to ease up on their own imperfections and see the good that they bring to others.