Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Deposit Please

I read a book several years ago that talked about making a deposit or withdraw from someones "love tank". The idea is when you do or say something nice you're making a deposit, when you do or say something not nice you make a withdraw.

Most people in my life poke fun at me. I'm a pretty sarcastic person so I think this gives the impression I can handle all sarcasm all the time. I'd like to think I can handle it, but I have to admit not all the time.

I think we get so caught up in doing what we've always done, treating people in ways they let us treat them, that we lose sight of value. Sarcasm is void of value, it just is. When you're busy making fun of someone you're not saying things like I'm proud of you, I admire you, I respect you, I learn from you. When you're blowing off something that's said through a sarcastic comment you're saying what you just said isn't going to impact me. Sarcasm is an ugly wall we hide behind way to much.

Sometimes I go into hiding from most of the world because honestly, I can't handle the poking fun, the sarcasm, the comments. I hide because it's better than saying "for just once will you act like you value me, act like your mature, act like we're not 12". I hide because my love tank is empty and if you keep making withdraws someone is going to get hurt.

Next time you want to poke fun at someone, next time you want to brush off words with your own words, next time you're tempted to be sarcastic I challenge you to stop and ask yourself when's the last time you said something nice to that person, when's the last time you built them up with encouragement and love? Get out from behind that wall of sarcasm and actually engage in the moment...make a deposit that's larger than your withdraws please.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Desperation vs Determination.

This morning I was watching tv and heard "Jesus never helped anyone that didn't ask for it"...what? He didn't? He didn't exhaust himself over those who he knew had great potential and were throwing it away in one way or another? He didn't beg people, saying "Jesus loves you! Please come to church!" He didn't talk and talk and talk and talk, throwing in crying every now and then, trying to guilt them into becoming a Christian? What?

I've known this, yet today I received just a little more clarity about it. The picture that I just wrote about, can't you just see Jesus shaking his head at us as we try and do that very thing with the people around us? Can't you see Him saying, "um, did I do that? If I didn't do that then why are you?" Why are we? Because we operate out of desperation, he operated out of determination.

Jesus was determined to make the most out of his short time on this earth. He was determined to help those who wanted it and he knew there was a lot of them! If he spent his time on the ones that didn't, a whole lot of people would lose out! A whole lot of time would be lost!

Yet, I do this. I seem to attract VERY broken men, different kinds of broken, but very broken still. And the center of that brokenness, they don't seek after God with their WHOLE heart. So what do I do? Spend LOTS of energy trying to change that, trying to "help" them. After all, maybe that's why God brought them into my life!! Or, maybe, just maybe, it's Satan's way of keeping my wheels spinning in one place because if I am let loose and actually spend time on the people that WANT Christ to be their center, GASP, then what?! Shiny objects can be so distracting.

Don't get me wrong, I will still talk with everyone I meet about God and why He should be their center. And I'll still continue to attract VERY broken men (I highlight very because we're all broken to some degree), but the difference now is I'm done wasting energy where it's not productive. I'm done being desperate for you to "please love god". Instead I shall be determined, be ready, to come alongside those that want it and pray for those that don't and trust God to help me see the difference.

And just so we're clear...You should love God, you should go to church, you should have Christ be your center. I'm not giving up on you, Jesus didn't give up on you (he died for ALL mankind), I'm just merely shifting my focus.

Monday, March 28, 2011

God, I promise...

When I was in high school I wasn't on good speaking terms with God...until I needed something from Him. I remember being in math class, getting ready for a test over stuff I didn't understand, praying to God "if you give me the answers I promise I'll study harder next time." I'd fail the test and that would just give another reason why I couldn't trust God. I'd try again, "God if you make that boy like me, I promise I'll be a good girlfriend." He wouldn't like me and I've have another reason pointing out that God must not want me to be happy.

Some of us go to church because we feel we have to, some of us follow God because we feel we owe it to Him. We make deals with God and it appears He held up his part, got us out of some jam, so we sit our happy butts in church and sing songs that have no real meaning. We walk around with our Christian faces on, only we feel indebted to God and wonder when He'll decide our good deeds just aren't good enough any more.

I wanted God to help me, only I hadn't done my part. I wanted God to fix something only it wasn't right for me at all. My focus was on me, what I want, what I lacked, what I needed to "get through the moment"; never was my focus on God, following Him, loving Him, seeking what He wants for me. I only talked to God when I needed something.

God doesn't deal. God isn't a quick fix. God isn't your safety net, your get out of jail free card, your do this and I'll do that. Shame on us for ever thinking like that...yet, here I was just the other day, having sought God for over seven years with all that I am, doing that very thing that I know better; I was thinking "a equals b." I'm in pain so I must of made God mad. Sigh, when will my brain connect with my heart?

When you deal with God, the deal eventually runs out. When you come to church because you owe it to him you eventually stop coming. When you bargain with God it lasts as long as the urgency is there, then the old you comes back out to play.

My sweet friends, join in me saying no more. No more thinking a equals b. No more thinking "whew God got me out of that, ok I better be a better person". No more going to church out of guilt. Be a Christian because you have a Creator that says I love you more than the birds in the air, I need you more than the stars in the sky, I know you better than you know yourself. Love God, follow God, seek God because without Him you are lost. If a truly equals b then...Jesus died for you and there's nothing you can do to increase it or lose it. That's Truth you can promise to accept.

Friday, March 25, 2011


"But do you trust me?" those are words I often hear when talking with God and more times than not I have to stop and admit that no, I don't fully trust Him. Though I'd much rather say of "course I do!" I would be lying and what's the point in lying to God? Trust. Not a good word for me. Kinda like beautiful.

The past four years I've loathed the word beautiful, for good reason..or so I've tried to justify. But the bottom line is it's kept me from growing, from receiving the love that God wants to give me. The wall goes up when I hear that word, though lately I've been working really hard at not doing that..writting for another time. So, this morning I sat on my bed and had to admit, once again, "I still don't trust You."

I pray for my friends, for growth to happen in their life, but it's in ways I think it should happen. I don't trust God to do it correctly. I pray for my kids to grow into healthy adults, but it's how I think that should look. I don't trust God to raise them correctly. I pray for my church to become God's vessel, but it's with ideas that I have. I don't trust God to use us fully.

I stay behind my wall of safety because there I'm in control, there I'm comfortable. There, trust is not needed. Not trusting is looking at Carla. Trusting is replacing Carla with God.

This morning I admitted all of this, out loud, to my Creator. I cried and I said aloud "please help my unbelief". Clairty also means seeing God more clearly, not for what He can do but for who He is. I want to trust God not because he's proven trustworthy to me, but because I believe He is who He says He is; I believe God is good, I believe God loves me, I believe God is trust. God. Is. Trust.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When I was a little girl my mom and I lived with my grandparents for a short time while my mom finished college. I remember watching my grandpa do various things around the house and the awe I had for him. I've never felt more unconditional love by any person on this earth than I felt from him and as a result I placed him on the pedestal of perfection.

A few weeks ago Erica and I had a conversation that involved tears and moments of silence because neither of us knew what to say. I love my children deeper than I have ever loved any one, they've taught me what true grace looks like. There isn't another human being that I long to do right by more than my children and as a result I've placed myself on the pedestal of perfection.

It's often been said we are our own worst enemy, in my life that's definitely the truth. I'm never good enough, smart enough, patient enough, tough enough, loving enough, quiet enough, pretty enough. Many nights I go to bed asking God to forgive me for letting Him down...again. If someone else were saying these words to me I'd simply tell them to stop that, no one is perfect and God's love covers every inch of us, even the "not enough" parts.

Part of working through this year of clarity for me is to do away with the pedestals, to see clearly how God sees me and then to embrace that vision till it becomes a louder truth to me than the lies in my head. My grandpa was not perfect and I am not perfect. God doesn't ask for perfection, He asks for dedication and if I'm to learn anything from my grandpa on how I should be living my life it's that very dedicated to One who is perfect.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Flesh

I've said for some time now that I want to reach a point where I don't react with my flesh, but instead react with the confidence of knowing God is in charge. By my flesh I mean allowing anger to fly out of my mouth, allowing myself to feel overwhelmed with worry and confusion, going straight to despair instead of straight to prayer. Apparently this desire is attractive to Satan because it seems that when I really start to focus on it I get hit from all directions with junk trying my patience, testing what I long for in my heart.

Today is no different. I woke up late, well not totally. I woke on time, feeling great, having a quiet moment with God before getting out of bed...only to turn the alarm off (without realizing it) and then falling back asleep. Kaity came busting through my door yelling MOM IT'S 6:40! To which I let lovely language fly out of my mouth. Then go to work only to realize it's the 15th and the schedules need to be sent out, I thought I had one more day. Then, after lunch I sit down to an email that complicated the financial part of my a very large way. As if that's not enough I then, later on, had a conversation with someone that honestly all I could do was respond with "you're unbelievable" and hang up. And top it off...I've had to deal with some family stuff. It's only 6:38pm too.

But as I sit here, soaking in the day, asking God to please show up in all of this I'm reminded of what I recently said to someone else with regards to their junk...God is always working, even when we don't "see" it. I believe that. I do. With everything in me, I believe that. I refuse to buckle, I refuse to be "chicken little" and I absolutely refuse to accept my flesh is going to win.

I wish there was some easy answer, I wish I could really just "not worry"...I think I'd be dead if that were the case. But I can do as the bible says, as Jesus asks, and cast my worries on Him. I can be patient and wait on the Lord. I can be still and know I am God. All these verses roll through my head, competing with the other thoughts..the ones saying "how could he!", "I'm not going to finish all of this", "what was I thinking", I could go on and on. But instead of camping on those ugly thoughts tonight I'm going to camp on the promise I have that tomorrow is a new day and God promises to meet all my needs, supply all my strength, and Christ died so I may have abundant joy in this life and the next. Trials will come, that's a guarantee but I can choose to not respond with my flesh but rather with my spirit and that's a guarantee of calm in the eye of the storm.'s a tricky thing...but I can tell you the truth in this very moment I know I'm much more patient than I use to be..after all, I've yet to punch anyone in the face! ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To Ask

Lately the conversation God and I have been having invovles asking. It's crossed my path several times, the pharse "ask and it will be given to you"...which lead me to saying is it really that easy? Can I really just ask? Now let me be clear, I know it is, I know that's "prayer", I know that part of the relationship with God. But do I KNOW that? Do I TRUST that? Ask and it will be given...really?

Last night in small group we ended up talking about how you know you are hearing from God. Different thoughts rose on this topic, ranging from does it match what the bible says to not being so sure we "hear" from God like we say we do. But hinging on the whole asking God for something is being able to hear the answer right?

I tend to compare my relationship with God to that of a marriage. I've often said that God and I are having a marital spat; some find this wrong to say because I'm talking about God and you shouldn't argue with God, I however find it healthy because through this wrestling that happens I learn to trust God deeper. All of that comes through communication. And any married couple will tell you communication is key to a healthy and successful marriage. I wouldn't bother aruging with God, or talking to Him for that matter, if I didn't believe He would answer.

James 1:5-6 says "If you need wisdom, if you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."

Expect Him to answer. Ask Him what He wants you to do. Notice it doesn't say only ask about the big things. It doesn't say He only answers occassionally and you probably won't be able to hear him. It doesn't say only when you've grown to a certain level as a Christian. It simply says if you wanna know, ask, then be looking for the answer. Period. The secret to all of this asking and listening...having your will in line with God's will. Asking for things that line up with God which means we don't always get what we ask for simply because it's not good for us, not because God isn't answering us. No, afterall, is an answer.

Years ago when I prayed "God use me" as a dare from Pastor Bill, I followed it with "I promise to give you the credit". Last night God was moving among our small group, promting us to dig deeper in our faith. Last night, my friends, God was speaking and it was in direct relation to someone's asking. So, I guess the answer is yes, it really is that easy. Man I love being a Christian.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

As you are

Isaiah 64:8 Yes you Lord, our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.

I bought a new computer over the weekend, not a purchase I wanted to make but a purchase I knew was coming. So this is my first day of actually using it and I must say, it feels so different. The keys are spaced different, the screen is different, and it's, well, new! What I like about new is that I can turn it into whatever I want it to be, downloading what I want, adding what I want. It's pretty much clay for me to mold.

God has been faithful in bringing people into my life that are good for me. People that I learn from, grow with; people that I trust. I also have people in my life that I want to see change, to see them improve. People that I pray for and ask God to move out loud in their life so they will move out loud for Him. But yesterday I was reminded that all of us belong to God, all of us were made by God and all of us can only be changed through God. I think that my desires are good, afterall it's so that they will know God deeper; however if I'm to be totally honest my desires are still self driven. I'm pretty much looking at them as clay for me mold.

As I sit and ponder this what rolls over and over in my mind is a phrase God laid on my heart years ago about my him for who he is, not who you want him to be. That was a freeing thing to hear but also troubling because it meant I had to accept my dad just as he was, even the parts that hurt me. But that was a very long time ago and I can honestly tell you it's the one thing that has healed our relationship deeper than anything else I ever tried. So when that phrase resurfaced yesterday with regards to someone else I thought oh no and good all at the same time!

As a Christian I am reassured that I'm not doing this life journey alone, as a Christian I am reassured that I am not left to try and figure it out on my own. But as a Christian I am also forced to admit I am not in control, people won't always say and do what I think they should, and God doesn't mold everyone the way I ask Him to. So when dealing with people that are in my life, for whatever reason, I must remember my only requirement laid down by God is to love them for who they are not for who I want them to be.