Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Know what you know

1 Corinthians 10:13: "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”

Years ago a pastor told me "I don't believe the phrase 'God doesn't give you more than you can handle' I think He DOES give us more than we can handle so that we turn to Him." Now, in theory that sounds really good and really spiritual. But it doesn't line up with God's Word.

And this realization that I made some time after my conversation with the pastor was what set me out on this frenzy of explaining to people why we must all know scripture for our selves so we can separate someone's opinion from what is really said in the Bible. 

I'm not saying you need to have lots of scripture memorized, I'm not even saying you need to know off the top of your head "Oh, that is found in X". Biblegateway.com does wonders in these areas. What I AM saying is you should be familiar enough with the Bible (more than a few random verses) so that when you hear something you can know if it's Truth or opinion or a combination of the two.

As the new year approaches many resolutions will be made, few will be kept. That's just a fact of the American life. My challenge to you is this: set out this year to become more familiar with scripture. If you feel inadequate to carry conversations about concepts taught in the bible then CHANGE that! Study Christianity...especially if it's what you claim as your identity.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A New You

"Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

If ever there was a verse I needed to memorize it's this one. For several reasons. All little girls dream of being chosen, of having a man sweep her off her feet and shout to the world "I choose THIS girl to be my bride!" And, frankly, I need to be clothed in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience WAY more than I am now. Yes, I need to memorize this verse for sure.

When I first started going to church I knew nothing about the Bible, or God for that matter. I didn't know Christian songs, not even old-school hymns. I didn't know how to pray, who to pray too (the whole Trinity thing is very confusing) and I didn't know if I really wanted to pray. What I did know--I was a woman scorned and far from believing Colossians 3:12.

My life had not become what I envisioned as a child. Most days I felt rejected, unlovable, and not worthy of breath. I had such harshness to me, because if I let that wall down I feared I would crumble and, as the rhyme goes, never be put back together again. But even beyond that fear was the fear I'd never be chosen by a man who would truly love me the way I longed to be loved.

But God.

I remember the first time I came across Colossians 3:12. It stopped me cold, my eyes couldn't move beyond the words "God chose you". If you look in my bible today you'll see that I have circled those three words. God. Chose. me.


On my own, when left to my own free will, I don't do very well, "Old Carla", as I call her, comes out to play. Old Carla is equivalent to B.C.--you know, before Christ, Old Testament, before Grace entered the room. Old Carla is the exact opposite of mercy and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience. When left to my own free will, when living outside the will of God, I am ugly.

But God.

Throughout my life I can see evidence of God calling out to me, I can see his hand woven deep within the countless wrong turn decisions and I can see his blessing in the middle of my deepest happiness. Yes, throughout my life, long before I answered to his call, I was fighting him but God was not backing down.

"God chose you."  There it was, in the bible, starring me in the face. God had chosen me. You have to understand, I didn't get to the book of Colossians until I'd been a Christian for sometime. So, by the time I read it I knew it was for even Carla, the girl who had made a total mess of her life.

And that's how I became a new creation. That's why I have an "Old Carla" now. Because I not only allowed the beginning of that verse to resonate with me, I went on and claimed the rest of the verse...and the verses around it, including the end of verse 15 "And always be thankful."

Today I strive to express my thankfulness out loud every day. I strive to be kind, to show mercy, be humble and gentle and yes, even patient. Today I no longer ache for a man to chose me (though I look forward to the day I get married to a man that is my best friend); no, today I am whole inside because I have already been chosen and I can't think of anything more worthy of thanksgiving.

It's so good to be New Carla. I pray that when you read in your bible "God chose you" that you will be taken on your own journey of becoming a New You.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sassy is my name

 I've been called a lot of things, had lots of different words used to describe my personality, but new my favorite is "sassy." Tonight during youth group we were talking about me recovering from being sick and I stated that I'm still so tired and the youth pastor said "don't worry, you'll be back to your sassy self soon." I instantly took inventory...is that me? am I sassy? is that a good quality? is this something I should work to rid myself of? and so on.

Interestingly enough we are talking with the students right now about their S.H.A.P.E and how that fits into God's plan for them. Spiritual gifts, Heart (passions), Abilities, Personality, Experiences. Sassy is certainly part of my personality and just as the Apostle Paul had qualities that dueled with good and bad, so do I. Sassy is both good and bad. Romans 8:28 is often quoted when something bad happens in a person's life. But I think it also applies to things like our personality traits.

I'm a lot to handle. My personality is demanding, strong, loud, overwhelming, and sassy to name a few. I also cry easily, get flustered instead of remain calm, talk when I should be quiet, and often I think I'm right. But God promises to use all things (including our personalities) for good, not that they are all good, but He'll work it out so that my sassy personality will be tamed in such a way that it's for good.

I also know how to stand up for myself, I trust my instincts, I seek wise counsel instead of acting on impulse, I am light-hearted, generous, quick to forgive, and pretty darn funny. My sassy is something I have to harness, sometimes I do that well, sometimes I don't. But the wonderful thing is God is using it for good by working through people to be mirrors to me, letting me know when to tame it down, when to bring it out.

I like me. I'm comfortable in my skin. I don't have an attitude that says "if you don't like me I don't care, I'll just be alone" and I also don't have an attitude that says "tell me how to be so you'll like me." I fall in the middle and frankly I'm a work in progress and I'm totally ok with that.

My challenge to you...analyze your SHAPE, be gut-level honest about things like your personality and then allow God to mold you in ways He sees fit (understanding the molding won't always feel good and it certainly won't always be easy) because at the end of the day it's not about us, it's about God and if things like our personality gets in the way of God shining then we are failing God.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Time Out

I decided to take time off from the social world, mainly facebook and twitter, for several reasons the main one being I needed to get my heart right...I was spending way to much time analyzing what others were or weren't doing and not nearly enough time focused on what I can control--myself. I will fully admit I haven't been 100% off and have briefly checked on pages like my kids and close friends, but I have not at all scrolled through the "newsfeed." It's been rather refreshing I must say.

What's surprising to me is how many things have happened that I've thought "Ooo gotta share this on facebook" only to remember I'm no on facebook right now. It's also been interesting to me how I was using facebook as a way to zone out of life, if even for only brief moments here and there.

I've decided to write this blog post as my way of keeping track of this "time out" experience.

1. My youngest turned 11 and I took a really adorable picture that I wanted to post and say to the world "look how grown up she looks" but instead I sent it to my mom and said "look who's 11"
2. I went to a baby shower and during the event we were all asked to give a piece of advice which caused me to reflect the rest of the day on parenting advice I wish I'd been given--great book idea. But what I wanted to post on facebook was "Emily Bell, you simply glow which is a great indication of how God is going to work through you as the mother of that little boy."
3. "This girl got a new job!!! wooohooo!!! After many months of prayer and basically begging God, I have finally gotten a new job!"
4. I saw an awesome couple at the car show who posted on my page and I wanted to write back "It was such a joy seeing you and getting hugs!" instead I sent them a private message because I didn't want to ignore their post (or have others think I'm ignoring it which is a whole separate issue about not letting others affect what I do)
5. I have been watching Joyce Meyer in the am and have had several moments I wanted to quote her...many times it was with a particular person in mind which goes to why I got off fb in the first place, my motives weren't pure.
6. It's driving me nuts to not see all that's going on. Seriously. I'm nosey and I want to know. Tom trys to help by saying "you're not missing much" or will tell me about something he knows I haven't seen. But then it hit me that we don't share the same friends so I COULD be missing something!
7. I thought I would be an awesome fun mom and make a fun dinner for E for her birthday, the birthday cake pancakes. FLOP. Not awesome at all.
8. I put my key in the wrong car, seriously. In my defense it was a silver Malibu. In more of my defense MY silver Malibu was parked right next to it. The owner of the wrong car did not find my honest mistake very funny. I however laughed out loud.And now you can too! You're welcome.
9.Took the kids to the zoo for E's birthday. It's killing me that I can't put this really cute picture of us on as my profile picture.
10.I really want to post about how much I am loving my new job!

Time out is over and I'm now back on social media. What I learned...I'm way to social to not be social.

Monday, July 29, 2013

My own worst enemy

"For by that one offering He perfected forever all those whom He is making holy." Hebrews 10:14

I am my own worst enemy. My self-talk is more paralyzing, more hurtful, and happens more often than any other person could possibly do to me. I can single handedly crush dreams, stop good intentions, and certainly I can keep God's wishes at arms length. Yes, I am my own worst enemy.

God is relentless. I mean that with the utmost respect, but seriously He is. When He wants me to do something, and I fully acknowledge it yet don't do it, He won't let up! Frankly, it's annoying. I find myself saying "I know, but what if..." and then I live in the land of Carla-talk. The whole time I'm wandering in that land, I feel God's nudge. I will often say "Just tell me what you want me to do." To which I'll feel inside "I already did." And I grumble and start in with more and LOUDER Carla-talk.

When reading Hebrews 10:14 two words override any self-talk we can do. Perfected and making. If I, if we (because I know you wallow in your own land of yuck-talk), keep those two words in mind there will be no room to camp on the what ifs. Here's the deal, perfected means already done. It's past tense. When Jesus died he made ALL who follow him perfect. It's done. In God's eyes I am perfect just as I am. So are you. Making is present tense. God is making us holy, day by day. Perfect and holy are two different things. Holy means to be set apart for God to use. Day after day we are being made more and more holy, used by God more and more as time passes...as we learn more about Him, surrender more to Him, and stop living in the land of negative self-talk (yuck talk, Carla land, whatever you want to call it). Perfected and making leave no room for "Good grief I suck as a human being."

The next time you start to doubt, to fear, to believe you are less than think about those two words. In God's eyes you are perfect and through His Holy Spirit He is making you holy. Because He loves you. Because He wants you to succeed in His plan for your life. Because He's better than your best friend so stop being your own worst enemy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

To trust

We were asked to come forward, bringing our paper animal and then told to pin it to the net. The animal represented an area of our life we wanted to release to God, to say He's in control of that area. One after one they went forward, kids that were crying out to God "yes, I want to be part of this!" It was church camp for the high school kids, last summer, and I was along as a leader. My first ever youth camp experience of any kind and overwhelmed doesn't fully describe what the week was like for me. This particular night the music was spot on and during the call for everyone to bring their paper animals forward I stayed put, it was like cement had filled my shoes. I couldn't move. I just stood there, with my eyes closed, listening to the music and feeling the emotion in the room.

I could feel God all around me..whispering..."do you trust me, Carla?"

Wave after wave washed over me and with each tear that fell I whispered back "I want too."

I opened my eyes to see, suspended on the stage, a glow in the dark word. The nets were hanging by wire and the papers had been clipped to the nets and a word glowed in giant letters TRUST. I gasped, I had no idea that's what they were going to do with the paper, what they were going to do with the nets. I certainly did not expect to see that particular word hung, starring at me as if God himself were hanging above the stage shouting to us all "DO YOU TRUST ME?"

Recently I decided to change the background on my facebook page, after searching for awhile and coming up short I stopped and asked myself "what do I need to be starring back at me?" The answer was so obvious I laughed out loud. I had quickly grabbed my phone that night at church camp and snapped a picture of the giant TRUST hanging over the stage; I knew I would need to be reminded again. The time has come, the reminding is needed. Each day that has ticked by this month I have needed it more and today it seems I need it the most.

Facing uncertainty is never easy, but God has reminded me today that if I trust Him then I don't need easy I just need to be close enough to Him to see where He steps so I can be sure He's leading me.

Trust indeed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What comes first

It can be very challenging to find the good sometimes. I’m constantly shouting for all to hear that we need to shift our perspective, focus on the good, find things to be thankful for—rather than complain and spew negative energy. This is not an easy task, this being thankful rather than saying “life is sucking right now”, especially when it truly is sucking. Yeah, sometimes finding the good is downright challenging.

Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given unto you.”

I read a quote one time that went like this, “You’ll always have a good and a bad track in life, moving side by side, which ever track you stand on is the one that will move you through life. Which track do you want to be on?” The point is this, if we spend our energy focusing on the negative then we’ll feel the negative or vice versa. I am willing to bet none of us want to be on the negative track. So, how do we move and stay on the good track of life?

First, accept the bad. Accept there will be bad days, bad people, bad moods, bad weeks. Accept there will be times when you feel like nothing is going your way. Accept and expect life to not always be fun and carefree.

Second, remember that it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are you can choose to still be positive, still speak positive, and believe that positive is coming. You choose your response to daily life. You choose the words, you choose your feelings, you choose joy or not.

Finally, and most important, pay attention to what you are seeking first. Do your thoughts center around how you’re going to change your circumstances, what you’re going to say to that person that made you mad. Do your thoughts center around how you’ll feel as you begin yet another day of doing something you don’t want to do OR do you seek first and foremost God and His righteousness? Are you spending more time thinking about you or about God?

How do I seek God? I get asked that question occasionally. I start by talking to God before I ever get out of bed. He’s the first conversation I have and the last conversation I have. Normally I say something like this “thanks for giving me another opportunity to be your vehicle, I’m praying I do it well, that I’m open to what you want to do today and that my words reflect my heart.” I also read my bible daily. Sometimes I read a Psalm, sometimes I read just a few verses, other times I read a few chapters; what matters is I’m reading God’s words, learning His thoughts. And I also seek God by having conversations about God with people I trust. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” I need sharpening, especially when I’m in seasons of life that the bad seems to be a wider track than the good.

Here’s my challenge to you: Don’t just post on facebook something you are thankful for, but instead spend an entire day only saying things that are good. Can you do it? You’ll need to seek God first, of that I’m sure, but I’m also sure you can certainly do it. When you’re tempted to be negative, pause, and then say something awesome.

Let me know how it goes…but remember the key, seek Him first.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The wave

It happens almost every single time. It's subtle and if you look the wrong way you'll miss it. If you're on the wrong bike, you'll miss it. But it's there for those who are in the club. The wave. The Harely Davidson wave.

I have been on my share of motorcycle rides, Harley rides. I have seen my share of waves. But today I finally made the connection--it's about the club. You see a bike coming towards you and then when it's close enough to decipher if it's wave worthy the drivers will extend a hand ever so slightly giving a friendly wave as the bikes pass one another. The wave. The club.

As we drove today and passed several bikes, extending several waves this is what I thought "if only it were that easy to tell a Christian was approaching, so that as we passed one another we could extend the 'you're in the club too' wave instead of just passing through life wondering if anyone around you feels the same way you do."

I want a Christian-wave-club. I want us to have the same loyalty found in the biker world. I want to look to my left and right and feel a sense of belonging when I'm out in the world not just in a church building. At my church we often say "WE are the church this is just a building." So, if WE are the church then where is our wave as we pass by on the streets? Where is our wave that says "you rock!"? Where is our wave that says "I'm in this with you"? Where is our nation wide club recognized by all, envied by some, devoted to by many? Where is our waving club?

Motorcycles can be very dangerous. Following Jesus can be more dangerous. Motorcycles attract attention (especially Harley ones). Loving Jesus in out loud ways attracts attention. I love riding on the back of the bike...I love the freedom it brings as the wind rushes over my entire body. I love being God's daughter, the freedom it brings as I endure trial after trial knowing this life is not the end and the battle that matters is already won.

The wave is cool so I'm probably going to start waving at lots of people. Just sayin.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Daily verse or actual reading?

These days it seems that we are looking for quick service, quick reads, quick deals. If I open a blog and it appears it will take me longer than a few minutes to read it the chances of me reading it are pretty slim. I suppose that’s why I like getting a daily bible verse sent to my phone, it’s just one verse and almost always pertains to some current situation of my life. Short and sweet that’s what we’re after, that’s what I’m after.

I’ve been challenged in the past with “I don’t have time to read the bible” and it often came when it appeared to others I had all the time in the world to just sit and do nothing but read. Today my world is so full I have little time to even hang out with my kids let alone sit and read so I like the daily bible verse even more.


I always hated when my mom would be answering my question and then throw in the “but” part. “But” is rarely, in my opinion, followed by something good. Depending on how you view it, this is one of those times.

Daily bible verses rock. BUT that isn’t enough, that isn’t what one can call “reading my bible daily.” If you wrote me a letter and I only read one sentence then called you and said “Loved the letter, I read it daily. One sentence at a time” how would you feel? Did I really read your letter? No, I read a sentence of the letter but I can’t possibly see your whole intent, your whole heart, if I didn’t read the whole letter.

Sitting down and reading the bible will look different for us all. For some that will be 15 minutes and a chapter or two, for others it’ll be an hour of a whole book. The point is reading your bible, spending TIME in God’s love letter to us, is more than a verse a day.

So, if I were to ask you “Do you read your bible” what would you say? A sentence of the love letter or the whole letter?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Father's Day Past

It’s a few days late but, I wanted to pay tribute this Father’s Day to two men in my life that will forever leave an impact on my heart—my grandfathers.

My earliest memory of Grandpa Critser (my mom’s father) is the camp meeting in Anderson, IN. I remember the smell of the air, an aroma that had a hint of sweet to it. I remember he’d lean down during service and whisper “remember, ice cream after this.” But my favorite memory of camp meeting week was on the last night when the candles were passed out. The room would dim and one by one candles were lit across the auditorium, including mine. And then all together we’d raise our candles and all you could see was a sea of flickering lights. As a little girl it was an awesome experience to be part of.

My last memory of him is when we went to visit my grandparents just before he died. There was a moment when it was only he and I in the room and he took my hand and through tears said “Only God is more proud of you than me.” Many moments in the years since I’ve reflected on that special moment, my grandpa loved God deeply and is the only man to ever enter my life that made me feel utterly and unconditionally loved. I am so thankful God made Morris (Bud) Critser. I miss him more than I could possibly explain.


My earliest memory of Grandpa Saathoff (my dad’s father) is riding on his lap as he mowed the pasture. I loved doing that! His arms were big and strong and he held me tightly as we’d make the turn to start the next lap. I also remember he’d never let me win playing checkers or battleship, when I’d start to cry he’d laugh and say “well, you could always try to beat me again” and we’d play another round. I never felt like he got tired of me; I never felt I was a burden to him. In years past, he was a confident man, proud to be an American, could fix anything and appeared to have no fear. In him I learned how a man should act.

My most recent memory is my dad and I having to help position him in bed because he’s too weak to do it himself. My heart is heavy because time is drawing to a close and I will one day not hear his voice. Last night I had a dream, he and I were riding on the tractor mowing a huge open field. We were laughing and his strong arms were once again wrapped around me. All was right in the world. I’m so thankful God made Glen Saathoff. I will forever draw upon the strength of the days past.

Father’s Day is a moment for us to pause
and give tribute to the men that are the reason we are alive.
If it wasn’t for my grandpa’s having my parents I wouldn’t be here
and I wouldn’t have had the privilege of knowing
the two finest men to ever cross my path.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What will others say?

Years ago I attended a funeral; she was my mom’s friend of many years. As I sat listening to various stories come from the front the large overflowing church I was overcome by the common theme in all the stories…she was a woman they longed to be. I remember leaving and thinking “I wonder if anyone would feel that way about me right now?”

Ask any parent if they are guilt free from their parenting of past days and they’ll laugh at you for being so silly to ask such a question. Ask any person who spewed harsh words in the moment if they regret doing so and they’ll give a look of “of course!” To say one can live regret-free or guilt-free is to imply that person never does anything wrong, never says anything wrong, never acts inappropriately and we all know that’s not possible.

My mom’s friend wasn’t perfect, I’m sure she had bad days and rough seasons of life. But it was clear to me the day of her funeral that her bad days didn’t define her, she didn’t allow them to become larger than who she was on the inside. Her legacy was a good one and that happened one good choice, one good word, one good action after another.

Today I encourage you to pause and reflect on your own life; what will people say about you at your funeral? I have thought about what kind of person I want to be for a long time now, something I use to never do. I work at becoming the kind of woman I long to be…the woman like my mom’s friend was…the kind of woman God will be proud to say “She’s my daughter!”

If you don’t like who you are then the good news you can BECOME.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

You Will Not

Isaiah 43:1-3 "But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.When you go through rivers of difficulty,   you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you."

It doesn't take much looking around to see the hurt, the fear, the uncertainty. Many of my friends are struggling in one fashion or another and today my heart is heavy that I cannot lift their burdens. If I have learned anything in this life it's that there is always good and bad going on--what we choose to focus on is what shines the brightest. 

Today my sweet friends, choose to focus on the passage found deep within Isaiah...if you are a Christian, if you have accepted that you cannot do life on your own, if you understand the desperate need for One bigger than you then this is for you--"You will not be consumed, you will not be burned, you will not be consumed. I love you." Say it out loud, shout it out for all to hear, do whatever it takes to etch this truth into your soul! It doesn't say "hopefully you'll endure through this" it says "you WILL NOT..." 

Life is hard. I know. Don't just hang in there....rise above and focus on the good. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I don't have time

"I don't have time to read the Bible." Countless times I've heard that statement from people. "Please, God, just tell me what to do and I'll do it!" I know that is the heart's cry by the same people, I know because I've heard it prayed. Two statements that frankly cancel each other out.

When I first became a Christian, not just a "I believe in God" kind, the only thing I knew about the Bible was some dude had been swallowed by a giant fish, I didn't know why or if he ever got out. That's it. I knew the song "Jesus Loves Me Because the Bible Tells Me So" but I didn't know where in the Bible it said that. So, when I became a Christian a fire was lite inside me and I wanted to know more. I asked a friend, "How do you go about knowing more about someone you cannot see?" The answer, "The love letters He left behind." And so my journey of Bible reading began.

"Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD and he will give you your hearts desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him and He will help you." Psalm 37:3-5

We Christians often quote part of that verse, we like the part that says "and he will give you your hearts desires" but we fail to remember what surrounds those words. When reading the Bible we MUST remember it was not written in verse by verse form, it was not meant to be read that way. When reading be sure to read around the verse so that you get all the information SO YOU KNOW WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO DO!!!

Don't have time to read the Bible? You should make time, because the answer to the prayer "Just tell me what to do" is in there. The Bible doesn't seem applicable to your life? Get a different version because if it's applicable to mine it certainly is to yours! Want direction from God? Start by doing Psalm 37:3-5.

Love letters. You'd read a love letter from your spouse.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Psalm 19:8 “The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart; the commandments of the LORD are clear, giving insight to life.”

Commandments. Who likes to be commanded of anything? Even toddlers hate to be commanded. Definitely teenagers hate to be commanded. And, frankly, I at 36 certainly do not tolerate well the idea of a command. And yet, that’s exactly what God calls his instruction for us….commandments.

We are all familiar with the “Ten Commandments” but for many it stops there and with good reason. To many, to myself admittedly at times, being a Christian seems like a bunch of rules and “thou shalt not’s” but when you read Psalm 19:8 commandments are linked to joy and insight—two things I really want and two things we all really need.

Joy is defined (by me) as the peace you feel deep inside regardless of the circumstance. When all seems to pointing in one direction but something deep within you says do something else and you feel an odd sense of peace about that—that is joy; that is God. Joy is not dependent upon how you feel (it’s not about being happy), what you want or even what you’re getting; no, joy is a state of being and according to this Psalm joy comes in the form of commandments.

When I was a kid my mom would often tell me “you didn’t come with an instruction manual” and now that I’m a mother myself I totally get what she was saying! But, this Psalm says otherwise. According to this psalm, we can get insight to life through the commandments of God. True, the bible does not say “When your kid does X, then you do X” I know, because I’ve looked. However, the bible is filled with insight including how to be a good parent. I know. I’ve looked.

Here’s my point, being a Christian is far more than just saying a one-time “I totally suck please forgive me” prayer and then exhaling because at least you’re not going to hell. Being a Christian is a daily process of becoming a better person than you were, a daily reminder of what you are capable of doing (remember, not always linked to what you feel like doing), being a Christian is about understanding that yes there are commandments, but they exist to bring joy and insight! After all, when we tell our toddler don’t touch the stove we have good reason, when we tell our teen you’re not going to that party we have good reason, and when God tells us as adults have no other god but Me, He has good reason.

So, the next time you’re quick to say “Yes I know I’m not supposed to do that, but...” pause and ask yourself why exactly is that particular commandment coming from God and then ask yourself which decision will bring joy and insight, yours or His.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Who are you impressing?

Notice me. That's at the heart of every human being. Yes, even you--the person who likes to say they could care less if anyone pays attention to them--you want to be noticed too. We wear our hair a certain way, we buy certain clothes, we post certain things on Facebook, we talk louder, we stay quieter, all in the hopes to be noticed. Ok, maybe we don't want the whole world to notice us, maybe just one person but have we ever stopped to think about WHY?

Love. That's why. It all comes down to love. Even for the man that says he needs no love. Even for the woman who says she'll never love again. Love. We want to be noticed because we want to be loved. And at the core of that hunger for love, for being noticed, is a deeper cry from God himself saying back to us "notice Me." And yet, we turn to others, ignoring His voice, in the hopes that some person, the right person, will come along and we will finally be whole inside.

It will never leave us, that desire to be noticed by others, but it can be tamed in us when we want more desperately for God to notice us than for another person too. We must stay aware of our desire, aware of why we are doing/saying/acting the way we are and then we must make the necessary adjustments to "keep our eyes turned towards the heavens."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Long Silence

It's been, what seems like, 100 years since I've written anything of substance to post for eyes to read. Truth be told, I haven't done any writing since I entered my time of silence. I'm not sure I'm ready to begin speaking out loud again, but something in me is stirring and for me that means write. So. I'm writing.

I entered this time off because every time I prayed I felt God whispering to me "just be quiet." So, I stepped out of anything that I deemed to be out loud...no more public speaking, no more writing, no more leading of any kind. I even got a "normal" non-churchy type job. And things started to fall into place. And things fell out of place.

One major lesson I have had to learn as a Christian is that life is never ALL good nor is it ALL bad. On one hand, it appears I'm simply taking some time off and God is still blessing us. On the other hand, it appears I am still enduring heartache and trials and God is still testing me. Life is both good and bad. But throughout the last three months I've taken hold of letting myself not do any kind of "deep thinking" and I've just simply lived.

Going through the motions of life can be good for us, it's what gives us a sense of routine and normalcy. Going through the motions can also be dangerous as we are not required to be fully engaged, which means we are not growing we are merely surviving.

My time of silence has been necessary. My heart and mind were not in sink with one another and it was taking a toll on my spirit and body. My attitude was poor, my hope was fading, and my problems were becoming bigger than my God. Yes, I needed to shut my mouth and just be so that God could finally be heard.

Are you struggling right now to hear God? Are you just going through the motions with no thought involved? Are you wondering how things will ever change for you? Be encouraged by me my friend, be encouraged to know that silence is truly golden, God wants you to hear Him more than you want to hear Him, and nothing is more important than to obey what you know you are being told.

I'm not fully ready to emerge and be back to where I was. I'm ok with that. I will move as I'm prompted, writing only when I feel led too and speaking only when I know He has something to say. And, I take great comfort in knowing that if for some reason I get ahead of Him again, He'll simply tell me to be quiet...and I will. Will you?