I don’t really think of myself as a control freak.  I’m usually completely unorganized and just barely make it through my day by the skin of my teeth.  I do well when I make lists, but I’m also quite the rebel and don’t like making lists because they make me feel smothered.  I know that seems stupid.  The best way to conquer being unorganized is to get organized, but apparently I enjoy self sabotage more than I enjoy having it all together.

I mean, having a schedule feels kinda rigid sometimes.  And I don’t like rigid.  I don’t like having somewhere to be all the time.  I like flexibility.  I like to think of myself as a free soul, flowing wherever and whenever, but if I really look at that honestly, I’m not a free flow-er.  I am a total control freak.

I recently listened to a message by a pastor at a church here in town.  The message was excellent, but one thing he said particularly caught my attention.

Faith and control cannot walk together. 

I’ve heard something similar to that before, but it was more like faith and fear don’t go together.  That was always kind of a duh thing, you know.  I mean, obviously if I’m letting myself be driven by fear then I can’t really say I’m operating in faith.

But to think of it, not as fear, but as control.  Now that made me stop.  What’s control all about anyway?  It’s having a desired outcome and doing whatever you can to make it happen.  And so I started thinking about control and fear and how they play off each other.  Most of the time, the whole reason I strive to have control of a situation is because I’m fearful of it going sideways.  I feel like if I can control a situation, I have a say in what happens, whereas if I have to have release control, I’m putting my trust in somebody else to bring forth a desirable outcome.

When I put my trust in God, ultimately I know that His plan and mine aren’t always going to line up.  And while His plans are always better in the end, I know that getting from A to Z isn’t always easy or fun.  In fact, sometimes it’s freaking hard.  And so I struggle with waiting on God, struggling with trusting in Him, struggle to say at the helm of the ship.

But you can’t struggle to stay in control of a situation and still call it faith.  At some point, I have to stop struggling and believe that God is good.  That He loves me.  That He can be trusted with all the big pieces and the little pieces of my life.  That He is all light and no dark.  Only good.

That’s something else the pastor said…

Faith is based on who God is – not on what He does or what He allows.

Difficult circumstances don’t change the character of God.  And I know that doesn’t make having faith in the face of a scary diagnosis or a financial crisis or a crumbling marriage any easier.  Even with faith, difficult circumstances are still…well, difficult.  But we can’t put our trust in our health or our money or our relationships.

No, we put our trust in the God of the Universe because regardless of what happens around us, it doesn’t change who dwells in us.  It doesn’t change who He is.

He can be trusted.  He really can.

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, “You are my God.”  
My times are in Your hand.  
-Psalm 31:14, 15a

P.S.  If you wanted to listen to the message I mentioned, click here.

Ya’ll.

I wonder how many posts I’ve started with “Ya’ll.”  Anyhow.

Ya’ll.  I have been about to bust to write about this one!  Several years ago my sweet friend, Tati, had a chance to go to Israel.  I was super excited for her…and honestly a little jealous.  Can you imagine?  Going to the places where Jesus was born and did miracles and ministry and died and rose again?  It’s like a once in a lifetime trip.  And one I figured I’d probably never get to go on.  For one, I was (and still kinda am) scared out of my mind to fly across the ocean.

Anyhow, so bless her – Tati offered to take a prayer and put it in the Western Wall for me while she was there. I mean, that was the next best thing, right?  And oh, how I hemmed and hawed about what in the world kinda prayer to write on my paper and send with her.  I mean, I might not ever get another chance to put a prayer in the Wall, right?

Now just in case you aren’t sure what this wall is that I’m talking about, the Western Wall (also called the Wailing Wall) is the last remaining piece of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD.  From what I’ve read, it’s a small western part of the outer wall that surrounded the Holy Temple.  The.  Holy.  Temple.  Like where sacrifices were made.  Like where the priests served.  Like where the presence of God dwelled in the Holy of Holies.  Oh my lands.  I can’t even.

What’s visible is only about half of the actual wall itself…the rest is underground, but the Wall, or HaKotel in Hebrew, is a very sacred and holy place of prayer for Jews and Christians.

So long story short, I thought it over and thought it over, but just couldn’t come up with a prayer to send with Tati.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to pray for.  I guess it was just that it was such a special thing and I wanted to get it right, you know?

And then God gave me my answer.

In my mind, I saw this piece of paper folded in half and then in half again.  As it started opening up, I saw that the paper was completely blank.  And I knew exactly what I was supposed to do.  It was like God was saying, you send the willing canvas, and I’ll fill in the blank.  So that’s what I did.  I sent a blank paper with Tati to the Wall.

I had no idea going forward that one of the things that God would write on my paper for me was that He would give me the chance to actually go there myself.

Wait, WHAT???

That’s right ya’ll!  I’m going to Israel!!  I’m super excited and nervous, but mostly excited! I’m going with my mom and my aunt in September for ten days.  I can hardly believe it.

I was looking at the itinerary last night and researching some of the places we are going.  So I was looking at pictures on Google maps that people have posted and I totally got overwhelmed.  Looking at these places and realizing that I’m going to be there…right there where Jesus stood.  Right there where He was born, where He performed miracles, where He was baptized, where all the things happened.  It was too much.  Like for a second I almost called my mom and said I can’t go.  It’s just too holy and I have no business going, no right to stand in any of those places.  I had to just move away from the computer for a bit and get myself together.

Lordy, I can already see I am going to be an uber emotional mess while we’re there.  My poor mama.  Ya’ll pray for her.

Anyhow, I’m asking for your help!  If you’ve been to Israel, I’d love to hear your travel tips.  What things did you bring that you didn’t really need?  What things did you wish you’d brought, but didn’t?  What was your favorite thing you saw or did while you were there?  And of course, will my cell phone internet and messaging work over there if I have a wireless connection?   These are things I need to know!

Also, I’d love it so much if you be praying for us as we prepare for the trip and then in September while we’re there.

Ya’ll!  I’m going to Israel!!!

My husband recently went camping in the mountains with some guys from church.  They were warned about bear activity in the area, and that there was one bear in particular who was especially determined.  Being mindful of that, they hiked along and set up camp for the night.  They did all the things they were supposed to do to keep the bear out of their food and hung their food bags from a tree away from their camp site.  The idea was that hopefully keeping the food off the ground would be a deterrent for the bear, but at least if he did get the food, it wasn’t right there in the camp where the bear would be tromping around in their tents.

Well, remember this bear (who they named Kevin) was determined.  I guess a little thing like elevation wasn’t going to keep him from his prize.  So Kevin just climbed that tree and got ahold of those food bags.  Clearly Kevin was hungry and he wasn’t playing around.  (The guys were all fine by the way.)

Isn’t that how it goes sometimes though?  You do all the things you’re supposed to do, you dot all your “i”s and cross all your “t”s and somehow you still find yourself in the pit.  I mean, how does that happen?  How is it that you can be going along just fine, moving in a good direction, doing what you think is the thing God has set out for you, following all the rules and suddenly everything goes careening off the rails.

You find out you have a little one on the way.  You take all the vitamins, follow all the doctor’s orders, do everything you can to take care of yourself and it ends in miscarriage.

You send your kids to church, thankful for a place where they can learn about Jesus and find godly friends.  You put your trust in leaders to teach and encourage your child, only to find out that your child has been molested by one of the very ones you trusted.

You do your best to be a good husband or wife.  You are faithful and kind and try and keep God at the forefront of your marriage.  But one day your spouse comes to you and tells you they love someone else and don’t want to be married to you anymore.

It seems so unfair.  And wrong.  And confusing.

I remember hearing Beth Moore say once that sometimes we find ourselves in the pit because we jump right in there with both feet, but then other times we end up in the pit because we either fell in or we were pushed.

Now I can spend all day telling you about all the stupid things I’ve done in my life that have left me in less than desirable places.  I could list decision after decision that led me onto paths that weren’t at all what God wanted for me.  It’s very true that more often than not, I am where I am completely of my own doing.  But I can also recall a few times where I found myself in a dark place because either someone did something that put me there or else things just went south and there was really nobody to blame.

But here’s the thing.  Regardless to how you got there, the enemy will do everything he can to keep you in the pit.  And one of his favorite tools to do that is shame.

I listened to a message on shame this weekend and how the accuser uses it to bring separation between us and God.  The pastor said to overcome shame, we must learn to separate who we are from what we do.  Yes and amen to that.  I would even add that we must separate who we are from what we do….as well as from what has been done to us.

God is not the author of shame anymore than He is the author of sin.  And God doesn’t use shame to “keep us in line.”  Does the Holy Spirit convict us when we make decisions that move us away from God?  Absolutely.  But there’s a pretty considerable difference between conviction and condemnation.  Conviction leads us to repentance.  Condemnation leads us to shame.

Psalm 34:4-5 says this:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.

We also read this in Romans 10:11:

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

I cannot say it enough.  Shame is absolutely from the enemy.  And the enemy’s number one priority is to put a rift between us and Jesus.  Covering us in shame weighs us down and distorts our view of Jesus and who we are in Him.  Shame causes separation and that’s never God’s desire.

I’d love for you to take just a moment and ask God if you are allowing shame to keep Him from having every bit of your heart.  Maybe you made some sketchy choices and you’re somewhere you never thought you’d be.  Or maybe something happened to you…something someone else did or something that just has no good explanation…and you’re now living in condemnation because of it.  Whatever the cause, Shame. Is. Not. From. God.  It’s not how God operates and don’t you let the accuser make you believe differently.

God desires peace…wholeness…shalom…for us.  Shame was nailed to the cross when Jesus gave Himself on our behalf.  Satan uses shame to keep us feeling defeated and hanging our heads.  But in Christ, shame has no power.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. ~Psalm 3:3-4

You guys.  I was on a roll recently with my writing and then I got distracted by this ridiculous television show.  A SPANISH television show where I had to read subtitles.  Thank goodness it was only three seasons or else I guess I’d still have my face in my iPad sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the next catastrophe was going to be for these folks.  How does that happen?

In this case, the explanation seems easy.  I thought to myself, I’ll just find a show that can be background noise for me while I crochet or fold clothes.  Makes sense right?  However the show I picked because it sounded really interesting turned out to be a Spanish show.  So I thought, well I’ll give it a go.  Maybe it’ll help me learn more Spanish.

Except for that’s not how it all went down.  Nope.  See if you’re watching a show that’s in a language you don’t speak really well, you have to actually read the subtitles to keep up with what’s going on.  And this show was a cliffhanger thriller type show, so you don’t want to miss any of the details of who’s hiding what and who’s in cahoots with who.  Whom.  Who.  Whatever.  (Clearly English is also not a mastered skill of mine.)

So here I am all involved in this show and I can’t get anything else done because SUBTITLES.  And by the time that revelation dawned on me, I was in there way too deep, ya’ll.

And I couldn’t help but think how many times the enemy gets me like that.  Not that I’m blaming the Spanish show on Satan.  That was all me.  I jumped right in with both feet on that one.  But in other things, the devil uses distractions to get us to focus on little things that don’t really matter to get our attention off the main thing (which I know I’ve said a million times before, but clearly have not yet grasped the concept of).  He frames these little things in a way that makes it seem like they are uber important.  Suddenly we’re putting all our attention into this one thing that might not really be as important as we think it is.  Or maybe it is important, but it’s not ours to deal with.

I’ve been spending some time looking back over the last few years of my life at the things that I’ve put a lot of focus on.  Some of them were just silly in the grand scheme of it all, but some of them were things to legitimately be concerned about.  Except for I went from being concerned to near being obsessed.  You guys, I wish I could tell you my whole story because I think all this would make so much more sense, and maybe one day I will, but not yet.

What I can say looking back though is that I found myself viewing situations through my own past wounds.  It wasn’t that the things upsetting me weren’t valid.  They absolutely were.  However, some of these battles weren’t mine to fight.  But there I was swinging my sword anyway because in the moment, the pain I saw others suffering was magnified by my own.  Do you know what I mean?  When we have old wounds that haven’t ever healed properly and we see others being wounded as well, it’s almost like ripping the scab off and we’re bleeding all over again and we don’t even fully understand why.  We just know that we’re hurting and somebody else is hurting and it has to stop.

Instead of trusting God to work everything out, I get so easily sidetracked and suddenly I have tunnel vision.  What should happen is that I recognize a wrong, I pray about it and do whatever God tells me to do, even if that is to just be still and wait for Him to make it right.  And that’s hard when you’ve already jumped in with both feet because you’re impatient.  You feel like you have to see the thing through and it has to be right now.

And just like I binge-watched three seasons of non-English show because I couldn’t wait to see how it would end, sometimes I come in like a steamroller because I can’t wait for God to do His thing.  Because He’s not always fast about it.  And somehow I’ve equated praying while waiting with doing nothing.  Which is a lie.

Because if God has said, pray and wait, that doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing is happening.  God’s always at work, always doing.  It just might be that what He’s doing at the moment doesn’t directly involve me.  Maybe for the moment I don’t have a part in the show.  Maybe for the moment, I’m just hanging in the back, taking care of props and lighting while somebody else is on stage.  Just because God’s movement isn’t evident to me in the moment doesn’t mean God is being still.  It just means He wants me to.

So I’m giving Spanish TV shows a rest for now.  I’m also putting my sword in the sheath and letting God do God while I re-learn what it means to trust Him, His timing, and His good intentions towards me and everyone else.

Hasta luego!

I started a study through the book of Mark a little over a week ago.  In true form, I’m only three days in, but they’ve been a good three days.  It’s interesting what things stand out when you read scripture slowly and really sink your teeth in.

In Mark chapter 1, starting in verse 21, it says Jesus went to Capernaum and started teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

~ Mar 1:21-22 NIV

Evidently these people had never heard anyone teach like Jesus before.  There was something different about Him.  He taught with authority and it was enough to make the people take pause.

But the enemy wasn’t having it.  Immediately following this verse, there’s a distraction.

Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”

~ Mar 1:23-24 NIV

Jesus is right in the middle of teaching and the people are finding themselves being drawn to Him and boom…the enemy sends an interruption.  But here’s a couple of things I thought were interesting about this scene.

First, I wonder how long this guy with the unclean spirit had been hanging around the synagogue.  Like, who was he? And what was his influence on the people around him before now?  Did they know already that he was possessed or was it only in the presence of Jesus that he was forced to reveal himself?

Either way, I think it’s worth noting here how important it is that we stay connected to Christ and in constant fellowship with Him.  That we stay in the scriptures.  That we stay aware of what’s going on around us.  That we are in the habit of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2).  Because Satan is sneaky.  Who knows where he’s hanging around or how long he’s been there?  And if we are counting on our own eyes to see his schemes, we’re in trouble.

Second, it’s interesting how this unclean spirit decided to out himself.  There’s Jesus teaching like nobody ever and all of a sudden there’s this guy crying out and detracting from the moment, but he’s doing it by addressing Jesus as the Holy One of God.  It would seem like this demon is working against the enemy by confirming Jesus’ identity.  And while that might be a little true, the fact is that even sometimes things we think are God things can be distractions from the main thing.

Jesus wasn’t having any nonsense and immediately cast the demon out, but then in the next verse it says,

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching–and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”

~ Mar 1:27 NIV

Only a couple of verses before, the people were astonished by Jesus’ teaching.  They were listening to the Son of God talking about His father and they were enthralled.  Now it says they were amazed by His authority over demons and immediately His fame spread throughout the region.  I can’t help but wonder what spread the most from that occasion?  His words or His works?  Is it possible that the enemy thought that using a miracle would take the focus off what Jesus was teaching?  That people would be more interested in what Jesus could do for them than what He had to say to them?  Sorta like, fix their bodies, but stay away from their hearts?  Because the heart change was really the point, right?

Sometimes even things that seem good or right might not be best.  Sometimes the things we do for God can start to overshadow our walk with God.  Like it starts to be more about the doing than the being.  It’s like something Noelle said the Pursue the Passion conference this past weekend.

Walking with God is far better than walking for Him. 

It might seem like semantics, but think of it like this.  If I’m walking for God, then I’m doing the things I think are best on His behalf. If I’m walking with Him, I’m going wherever He’s going, doing things the way He is doing them instead of guessing at what I think is the best thing.

It’s not to say that doing God’s work is a bad thing.  But when our relationship with God gets off track because we’re fixed on this thing or that thing, God’s work really isn’t God’s work anymore.  Now it’s our work.  And I’ve come to realize more and more that if I’m going to stay in line with God’s will for me, then I’m going to have to stay in line with Him.

God, help me keep my focus.  When my eyes wander to great and mighty things instead of the Great and Almighty God, draw me back.

I am an emotional wreck this morning.  I saw the new yesterday about the school shooting in Florida.  Mass shootings seem to be more and more commonplace.  It tears my nerves up.  It was just last week that my son’s school did a practice drill of a lockdown in the event that there was an active shooter on campus.  It’s just gut wrenching to me that they even have to practice such a thing.

But there are two things that I have found deeply disturbing.

First, the number of kids that were taking videos and doing Snapchats while all this was going on was alarming to me.  Nowadays, where eh-vah-ry-body has a cell phone, we all have the lovely blessing of getting a first hand look into the day-to-day lives of all our friends and neighbors.  People actually make a living doing You-Tube videos of themselves eating disgusting food and doing stupid (and dangerous) things.  But the thing is, there would be no living to be made if there weren’t people who watched the videos.  And honestly, I don’t know that humanity is all that much more narcissistic and me-focused than we’ve always been, it’s just that now we have outlets to promote ourselves that we didn’t used to have.

When tragedy happens, you can bet that these days that somebody got a video of it and the news media will gracious pay good money for said video.  So now, a school shooting happens and instead of HIDING and PRESERVING YOUR FREAKING LIFE, we have kids doing Snapchats that say “omg nooooo” while there are shots going off in the background.  It’s almost as disturbing as the shooting itself to think that while a classmate is lying on the floor bleeding to death, another is posting a video on Snapchat.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Nobody in the general public needs to see that video.  NOBODY.  There is no news value whatsoever there.  None.  Please please parents, school admins, and any other adulty person that has the ear of a child in school…please tell your children to protect themselves.  That a firsthand video of horror is nothing to compare to the value of their own lives.  That sending a Snapchat is just not worth the risk of calling attention to yourself when there is an active gunman SHOOTING PEOPLE at your school.

The second thing that stuns me about all this is the number of kids that are saying how disturbing the shooter was prior to all this.  That some classmates had even predicted that if there was ever a shooting at their school, this guy would be the one to do it.  And he did.  In this day and age where people get their feelings hurt when you look at them wrong, where your neighbor is somebody that you see when you are driving into or out of your garage, where people “just stay out of it,” and some mass shooting happens, you will always have those who will say, “I just can’t believe they would do something like this.”  But if you start to dig a little into the lives of these people that are doing such heinous things, you’ll almost always find all kinds of crazy, unstable stuff.  And you’ll also find people who knew about their crazy, unstable stuff.  And nobody says anything.  Because what can we do anyway?  You start to see how unstable a person is, how dangerous they could be, but who do you tell?  What do you do?  Everybody is so offended about everything anymore that no one would dare question the metal stability of a person who says disturbing things and posts pictures of themselves with weapons on Instagram.  I mean, if this guy wants to take pictures of himself holding a gun and post it all over social media, that’s his right, isn’t it?  The liberal people say so because nobody has the right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life.  The gun people say so because nobody has the right to tell me I can’t own/take pictures of me with my weaponry if I want to.  Nobody has the right to speak up because it might be offensive to someone else.  It’s none of my business what someone else does or how they want to live their lives. Until it is my business because somebody I love is gone.

And so the shootings continue.  The domestic abuse and killing continues.  The child abuse and trafficking continues.  The awful horrible things just continue.  And we all sit at home and watch them live from the camera phone of a teenager lying on the floor at their school while someone is shooting their teachers and classmates.

How long, O Lord?  How long?

I dropped my son off at school this morning and as he was getting his stuff together to get out of the car, he started telling me how they were going to be practicing how they would do a lockdown.  He said he was afraid because what if there really was an intruder?  What if the intruder got him?  What if?

I explained the best I could in the moment that the lockdowns were good to practice because that way he and his friends would know exactly what to do if there really was an intruder.  It would help them be safer than if they had never done a lockdown before and then had to in a real situation.  I told him that the school had safety measures put in place to hopefully keep an intruder from ever getting very far into the building even if one did show up, but just in case the next step was to do a lockdown to protect themselves.  I honestly don’t know that I was much comfort to him, but he seemed to accept my answer and got his things and went on into school.

And I cried all the way home.

I cried because I wanted to be able to tell him that everything would be fine.  That he wouldn’t ever have to worry about an intruder coming into his school.  That he was safe from harm there.  That we lived in a place where things like that just don’t happen.  But I knew I couldn’t say those things truthfully.

Because we live in a town where a man goes into the Walmart parking lot and shoots random people.  We live in a town where a husband kills his wife and himself in their own home while their child is at school.  We live in a country where evil men gain access to guns and mow people down at an outdoor concert.  We live in a world where a woman drowns her own children because they were getting in the way of her relationship with her boyfriend.

Our world is overwrought with sin.  And with sin comes pain and loss and death.  And being a parent in the midst of all that is hard.  You want to shield your children from it all, protect them from the ones that would set out to do them harm.  To tell them that everything will be okay and they don’t have to worry.  But sometimes there’s just not a comforting answer.  Sometimes the truth is just scary and the best way to deal with it is to be prepared in the event that something bad happens.

Last week there was a news reporter in the park lot of the school asking parents in the pickup line if they talked to their children about active shooter situations.  When she got to me, she asked if I’d like to go on camera and share my thoughts, to which I of course replied “no, thank you” on account of my hair looking completely inappropriate for TV.  But even beyond that, I don’t know that I would have had a response at the moment.  How do you talk to you children about such horrible things?  You want them to be aware, but you also don’t want to scare the living daylights out of them at the same time.

So I called my husband this morning in tears…my level-headed, military-minded, always prepared husband.  (God knew I needed somebody who could take a fearful situation and make a logical plan.  Stuff like this tears my nerves slam up.)  He and I going to sit down together tonight and have a conversation with our boys about it all.  I think that’s really all you can do sometimes.  Keep the lines of communication open, talk through the fears, prepare them for the world as best you can, and pray.

I am curious though…if you have children, do you talk to them about what to do if there’s a shooter at their school?  And if you’ve had that conversation, how did it go?

 

Well, January is almost over and I feel like it just started.  I decided after all the starts and stops this month with not one, but two rounds of snow and a ridiculous number of snow days for my little one, I’ll just start my “New Year” in February.

And since February is right around the corner, I thought I’d share my word with you.  I’m sure you’re probably familiar with the One Word idea.  Instead of making a bunch of resolutions, which I already said I wasn’t going to do, you prayerfully seek out one word that will set the tone for your year to come.  Last year, I don’t think I actually had one particular word, but rather several phrases.  But this year, there has been one word that keeps settling into my heart.

Unbecoming.

I first saw it in a Facebook post from a page I follow:

unbecoming

Unbecoming just stuck in my head.  For so much of my life, I have tried to be this or be that.  Tried to make myself into somebody that I thought people would like.  Tried to fit this mold or that one.  Tried to be pleasing.  And the worst part is that with all my efforts to become this or become that, I still never felt like I fit in anywhere.

Maybe it was because I was too busy trying to be things that I’m not supposed to be.

So this year is going to be about unbecoming.  About taking off all the layers of stuff that’s just not supposed to be there.  About unbecoming the perfect wife and mother….because I’ll never be perfect.  I’m releasing myself from that.  About unbecoming the perfect Christian…because I’ll never be that either.  I’m giving myself grace there.  About unbecoming the funniest person or the thinnest person or the best writer or whatever else and give myself space to find out who I am underneath all these layers.

I’m giving myself the freedom to not have to fit anybody’s mold, but rather to allow God to shape me.  I feel like I have already been walking through a season of removing or “unbecoming” as it were…it’s just only recently I think that I’ve really begun to recognize it as season of undoing.  It has been a hard season, but I think I’m beginning to understand that God has been walking me through the process of unbecoming – before I even had a word for it.  I believe His intention has been and continues to be to clear away all the clutter and start fresh.  I’ve said for so long how much sometimes I wish I could just erase everything I knew about God and just start from scratch.  To learn Him from the beginning without all the “churchy” baggage that I’ve picked up along the way.

So that’s my word and my prayer for this year…

Lord, give me perseverance and courage to unbecome all the things that aren’t the me you would have me to be.  And in the unbecoming, I pray that all the things that keep me tangled up and tied down would all fall away and I would fall in love with you all over again.

Did you have a “One Word” for this year that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear it!

It’s been a hard few days.  My shoulders feel a bit heavy with the weight of being a grown up.  In fact, I had in my mind to write about all that, but I decided not to depress the hell out of us all on this Monday morning.

So on another note, I visited my friend’s church again this weekend to see her little ones get baptized.  (I got the day right this time.  Ha!)  And what a pleasure it was.  They were both darling, as always, and it was a privilege to be a witness to such a special moment.

And in true kid fashion, her son was not nearly as interested in what was going on as he was in whatever it was that caught his eye on the floor.  He was sitting on the floor at his mom and dad’s feet, picking at a place in the carpet. I couldn’t help but smile at how relaxed he seemed. At one point he rolled over and was laying on his back spread eagle.  He was just so comfortable rolling around and investigating the things around him.

I kept thinking, what a picture of Jesus and how He prepares the way for us to life, doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves.  The pastor was thinking along the same line too because he mentioned how much like this grace was.  How it covers us when we don’t even know we need it…and how sometimes its awesomeness knocks us out on the floor.

That sweet boy didn’t know a whole lot about the situation yet, but there his mommy and daddy were, making a covenant with God on behalf of him and his sister, to raise them in a way that would demonstrate the gospel to them.  And one day, when they are older, they will take ownership of that covenant for themselves. He might not have completely understood what was happening, but he was there with Mom and Dad, and he was enjoying the moment.

It made me think about how many times I find myself freaking out about what’s going on around me instead of just enjoying where God has me. How often I’m impatiently wandering off on my own instead of just sitting happily at my Father’s feet, waiting for His direction. Sometimes it’s like I’ve forgotten how to rest in Him…how to trust in Him.

But God never forgets to be God.

The loving hands of our Father are always leading us and providing for us before we even know what we need.  The sacrifice of our Savior did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. The gentle wooing of our Holy Spirit is always drawing our hearts, pointing us towards Christ.

We can be at peace at our Father’s feet knowing that He is always working in our favor. And we can be joyful in knowing that He is always doing the good thing, the life-giving thing.

And so for today, when being an adult is hard, I’m going to just lay in the floor and look up at my Father and trust in His love for me.

My sweet friend’s children were getting baptized yesterday and she had invited me to come.  I got up, got dressed and drove to her church and went inside to look for her and her husband.  I even said to the lady at the information table, “Hi, I’m here to see my friend’s kids get baptized,” to which she said…somewhat confused….”oh, well okay.  The service hasn’t started yet, and that’s usually part of the service.”  I knew that already, but smiled and said thank you, and went into the sanctuary to wait.  I found a seat and texted my friend to say I was there and it was about then that I looked at her original text and realized that I was in fact a week early.  That might explain the info lady’s confusion.  Oh well, I thought.  I’m here now.  Might as well stay for the service.

Ya’ll.  This kinda stuff happens a whole lot more than it used to.  I closed the garage door on my car the other day and the sad thing was, I was fully aware in the moment that my car was still sitting halfway in the garage.  I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen other than what did, but anyway.  Thankfully the garage door was fine.  I guess these things will become more and more commonplace the older that I get.

Anyhow, the church service was nice and I was a little excited to see that it was communion weekend.  I haven’t taken communion in a while, since at the Catholic church I can’t because I’m not Catholic and that’s the only church we’ve been to since leaving our previous one.

It came time for communion and everybody went up to get bread and juice, only you were supposed to take it back to your seat so everybody could partake together.  A piece of bread off the common loaf and a little plastic cup with juice in it.  So I’m sitting in my seat with my bread and juice waiting while the last few rows go up and someone walks past me and a little piece of their bread falls on the floor in the isle.  Well, I couldn’t take my eyes off that little piece of bread.  I kept think as people were walking by, “oh no, somebody’s gonna step on Jesus!”  Amazingly enough though, nobody did.  People just kept walking by and that little piece of bread just kept sitting there on the floor.  So I decided that as soon as the service was over, I was going to grab that little piece of bread before people got up and started walking out and then somebody would step on Jesus’ body for sure.

So communion was over and we all closed our eyes and the pastor led us in prayer to close the service.  And when I opened my eyes, lo and behold ya’ll, that little piece of bread was gone!  Somebody else must have seen the bread on the floor and  got to it before I did, but all I could think to myself was, “Praise the Lord, He has risen!” which got me a little tickled.

And I guess it got me thinking some too.  Like about Hansel and Gretel and how they left bread crumbs so they could find their way back home.  Okay, so maybe Hansel and Gretel aren’t the best example because the birds ate their bread and they got lost and ended up in the house of the witch who wanted to eat them.  You know, what?  Nevermind.  Forget Hansel and Gretel.

The point I’m trying to get to is that when we are living in the abundant love of Christ, we’ll want to leave Jesus crumbs wherever we go.  Sitting at the table of the Lord will always afford us more than enough so that we might leave a bread trail for others to find their way to Him.  It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.  Sometimes I think we make it harder than it has to be.  Or we think we have to let somebody else do the leading because we don’t have the right words or know all the things.

But when you’ve been to a restaurant and eaten a delicious meal, you tell others about how good it was.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to cook the food you had, you just know it was worth telling somebody else about so they can go and eat there too.

Jesus is the same.  It’s okay if you don’t know all the theology.  It’s alright if you can’t recite verse after verse of scripture.  Because the thing you do know is that He is good and you want others to taste and see.

Just keep coming to the Father’s table.  Keep on dining with Jesus.  His goodness will start to spill out of you and you’ll be leaving Jesus crumbs everywhere you go.

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