The Fringe (#jammed daily devo, day 341)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 341: Knowing Grace.

These are just the beginning of all that he does,
    merely a whisper of his power.” Job 26:14a

“Mom,” my younger daughter asked, “can you read these directions to me?”DECJAM6 (1)

No, don’t think it’s cute. Kid can read. It’s not cute anymore …now, it’s laziness.

“You know how to read them,” I point out, “you just don’t feel like it.”

I heard the compliant seat-settling from the other end of the house, and a mumbling sound of directions being read. She’s right on the fringe of being a super grown up kid …and she’s not quite sure how she feels about it. She still wants to need me, sometimes.

Today’s verse states how powerful and magnificent God is. Job is wrestled, knowing  God could have ended His suffering in a heartbeat if it would have been s in His omnipotent will, too. Which he also wrestles with …why it was in God’s will for Him to suffer? Why was he allowed to suffer unjustly?

“Why won’t you just read me the directions, mom?!” came an entitled bark from a tiny desk chair.

“Because I believe you can, and it’s time you do.” I simply state.

There are times throughout Job’s massive wrestle with suffering that He was on the fringe of something …

“If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay hi hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would fritter me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” Job 9: 33-35

On the fringe.

But we know this side of the Gospel what Job was not privy to in Old Testament life.

Jesus.

How many times has God answered my “can’t you just do this” prayer with “I believe you can get through it, and it’s time you do.”

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for being here, and planting the hope of Jesus throughout the entire Old Testament …and our lives. Thank You for the way Your word weaves in and out of our lives like the perfect song …with us every chord. Forgive us for turning a blind ear to your wisdom, and being lazily disobedient with tasks You charge us to. Bless  us and heal us and equip us with godly confidence, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Doing,

Megs

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Stay encouraged!

The Impossible Things (#recall 12 series, September)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“If you can?” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

Unknown

“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Alice in Wonderland

There’s a scene at the end of Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is trying to summon the strength within herself to slay the Jabowake. And in doing so, she recalls all of the impossible things that she has believed. It gives her the courage to do what she believes she can do. Although a fictional story, this classic tale inspires us to remember that “the only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”

The mind can be trained to believe, and our thoughts can be told what we’re capable of. When we come down with a severe case of the “I can’t’s,” it helps to remember Who can. In this month’s memory verse, Jesus asks …“If you can?” Of course we can’t …but He can. And with Him, we will. Let’s look at the entire verse:#recall12 September tweet 1

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

If you can? 

“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. Mark 9:16

Doubt can kick the legs of our faith right out from underneath us. Arguments often seed in doubt and threaten to exploit distrust of another’s beliefs.

doubt-to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. distrust.

Jesus’ disciples were arguing over something that wasn’t going according to plan. The solution they sought wasn’t happening as they thought it should …or had in the past.

“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech …I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” Mark 9:17-18

Why, this particular time, aren’t His disciples able to heal this boy?

Everything is possible…

Jesus begins to address what is possible for them, and what is possible only for God. Possible often looks a lot different in our eyes than it does to the One who actually has a finger on all things alive.

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9:19

Notice what happens when they stop arguing, and start to obey Jesus.

 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. Mark 9:20

Even the spirit saw Jesus coming, and took one last attempt to take the boy out. Life often seems to bear down when we’re already under attack, and that’s exactly what the spirit was doing to this boy.

“A person who truly believes will set no limits on what God can do.” NIV Study Bible Notes

There will be times in all of our lives where Jesus is the only one who will be able to help us.

“…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Mark 9:22

 

#recall12 September 2

…for the one who believes.

When beyond our limits, our belief in Christ saves us. Again and again, He will lift us out of what life has buried us in.

“The question was not whether Jesus had the power to heal the boy but whether the father had faith to believe it.” NIV Study Bible Notes

When we walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts when we’ve let our doubt lead us into dangerous territory. Much like God moved the father’s heart …

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The hardest part of faith isn’t accepting Jesus as our Savior. It’s not overcoming our doubt. It’s not even believing that the impossible is possible. The difficulty is in understanding what God’s seemingly impossible capability looks like …feels like …sounds like… in our everyday lives.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

We’re not always going to be equipped to climb our mountains. Sometimes, we have to sit back and let God move them.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”#recall12 September tweet 2

The hardest part of living in faith is sitting still in the pocket of prayer. Humanity is very goal-oriented. There are many times when are guts achieve God’s glorious goals for our lives. Tenacity and boldness are significantly important to walk out our faith. But there are some tasks that will surpass our physicalities. Answers to questions will eventually elude our logical abilities. Sometimes God answers …“this kind can come out only by prayer.”

Life isn’t always going to look like we think it should, thought it would, or want it to. But that doesn’t mean we should stop believing in the impossible. Our God is God of impossibilities, and Christ has authority over all the earth. The Spirit translates our prayers to God and God’s Word to us. His Word is faith’s handbook, and Christ-followed foot-steps eventually lead us to the Author.

Like Alice repeated the impossibilities that had become possible in her life to extend her courage to defeat the Jabowake …so must we repeat what God has made possible in our lives. When we look back and recount answered prayers, blessings, and miracles …we give our faith feet to stand firm and confidently in His Love.

Happy Believing,

Megs
September #recall 12 PDF

Click here, or on the image, for this month’s FREE verse cards!

Recall 12 September Screen Shot

This post may be appear at the following link-up parties. Come join us!

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

Stay encouraged!

The Weeds.

“DROP IT.”

But she didn’t. Just as my daughters did when they were toddlers picking petunias, Cherry
sprinted out one last burst of freedom, plant in tow. Between my kids, my dog, and my husband’s impatience for unsightly landscaping, my flowers can’t seem to catch a break.
Every year, some of my flowers fall folly to my husband’s impatience to distinguish which shoots are a nuisance. It’s cost me plenty of perennials. Daisies, sunflowers, wildflowers… In his defense, they do look like weeds when they are an inch tall. Everything does. But he doesn’t wait to decipher. He loads up that nifty weed sprayer tool and starts frying every faulty growing follicle in the flower beds. After many, many, debates over what is what… this is the first summer in three years my wildflower garden has turned the corner it was meant to fill.

Ironically, the invasive grass I mistook for ornamental lake grass and tagged free game for weed kill is absolutely indestructible. It’s been sprayed, yanked, dug up from the dirt up, clearly told it’s not been wanted …and yet keeps coming back. And it’s the only plant my puppy isn’t interested in chewing on. Prevalent change is purposed for a holy happiness, happening to us.

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The war of the weeds puts change into poignant perspective.

  • Some change is yanked before it has a chance.
  • Some change is invasive and unavoidable.
  • Some change separates a wildflower from the weeds.
  • Some change takes time to yield blooms.

Weeds 1How do we know what’s a weed and what’s a wildflower? When to pluck it out or let it grow? It’s confusing. Change is confusing. The ebb and flow of every day’s tide washes change over our lives and our world. Though the beauty of God’s goodness and love surrounds us, tragic-induced change seems ever-increasing. Evil’s masterful army of stealthed trickery and false promises prowls without pause. What I can only process as newsworthy injustice I turn over, in trust, to who God is and what He’s promised.

Change- verb) To make or become different.  image                                                                                            noun) The act or instance of making or becoming different. -Google

Change will come. Change will happen. But God never changes. Even when we feel like a weed caught in a sea of windflowers, our unchanging God is shifting our hearts.

“Heaven” is the inheritance that we are chosen for. God is changing us …making us holy …so we may inherit the full scope of happiness set aside for us.

 

Weeds 2In all the squabbling over who’s chosen right and wrong, we’ve neglected to distinguish weed from wildflower. Instead we fix and fumigate; worry and speculate; point and proclaim. In every heart is the spark of change. Christ left it on the cross to be lit. It yields love that spreads further and farther than hate. Love, that needs no news channel to exploit it’s cinematic potential.

Bible Gateway is a great resource to compare different versions of the punch of promise packed into this verse:

  • “We stand to inherit even more. As His heirs, we are predestined to play a key role in His unfolding purpose that is energizing everything to conform to His will.” Ephesians 1:11 (Voice)
  • “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” Ephesians 1:11 (NIV)
  • “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who work ethic all things after the counsel of his own will.” Ephesians 1:11 (KJV)

There’s so much that I don’t understand about the balance between predestination and free will. But I do know that God’s sovereignty reigns over both.

Sovereign- possessing supreme or ultimate power. -Google

imageIn national times riddled in recent tragedy, my heart aches for the moms. My biggest fear has become your truth. I try to put myself in your shoes, but cannot. A mad moment can unglue a mind. Jesus was nailed to a cross so we could weep at His feet, and trust that something will change. In a world that bumps us from one minute to the next, God is the same as He was when He spoke the stars into the sky. I cling to Christ to clear the “why.”

“All who are chosen to happiness as the end are chosen to holiness as the means.”                               -MH Commentary.

Beautiful flowers look like weeds when they first break through the soil. And before that, they look like nothing at all. But when watered, watched, and staked in the wind, the potential abounds …height soars.

If God takes such care in His creations, why do we think we have any authority over humanity? We are all being watered, watched, and staked in the wind.

  •  Some change is challenging. 
  • Some changes are results. 
  • Some change, changes us.
  • Some changes, change lives.
  • Some changes save lives.

imageOn my favorite racing roller coaster, the inside passengers from each train reach out on the long banking turns to high five each other as the trains pass back and forth throughout the ride. It’s risky, scary, and against the rules …but irresistibly fun. High-fives and smiles abound amongst strangers …without interviews, pat-downs, and predeterminations. There’s no time for introductions. You either high five or you don’t. I love that. That’s my favorite. Just people being people. Laughing and smiling. In His image, we were created to react in love. Not hate.image

There’s only one way, but all are welcome. (First5 Weekend Wrap Up Video, 7/9/16) LOVE. Let
the Author of life weed His garden. In the end, love wins. #beapartofit #holyinheritance  #findaway #justlove #lovewins

Happy Gardening,

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Last Day

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The product of my rushed suburban childhood is arm-in-arm in that sandy crop of kids, traditionally appreciating the last day of school in their little lake town …where the busiest road has a 35 mph speed limit, and we can count the number of stop lights on one hand. “Rush” is absent from their vocabulary.

PERFECTTraditions can bloom dreams if we allow them to align our intentions with His design. The small lake town I live in has taught me to treasure tradition. In your town, on the farm, amidst a metropolis, or in your move; here are some benefits I’ve uncovered in establishing a little tradition.

#heartseeds

1.Stability

foundation- the basis or groundwork for anything…the natural or prepared ground on which some structure exists. (dictionary.com)

Learning to leave God in our dreams takes faith tough enough to trust that His view of them will undoubtably differ from our expectations a lot of the time. If we learn to look up before we dream out; the surrounding blessings, people, and places in life begin to reveal parts of His purpose. Tradition rooted in Christ yields a stable foundation to dream upon.

“You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the pieces of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20

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Paul reminded the church at Ephesus to embrace the foundation that Jesus laid at the foot of the cross.  We would be wise to do the same. When our dream is drifting with the Creator’s current, living it each day spreads the virtuous kindness and joy of Jesus.

2. Resilience 

“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good.” 1 Thes. 5:21

I had all intentions of moving by the water to be out on the water, but God threw out the anchor… and beached my boat.  And as I peeled back the layers of blessing from the shoreline, I’m so glad he didn’t let me rush past it all. Changing the direction of our lives is never easy, but layered in the learning are blessings that follow an obedient heart. “Clinging” to those blessings, to who He is, shapes a resilient heart.

resilience the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.- Google

The pre-school years flew by, and the “Last Day” tradition that started with four moms is still growing … each year new friendships form and new laughs are logged. We pray for each other, help each other, laugh, cry and load up on a bus to celebrate milestones together… stand arm-in-arm together.

#dontskipachapter

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3. Confidence

“So, brothers and sisters, all you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.” 2 Thes 2:15

Paul wrote this letter to clarify some traditions that had been muddled in translation. Can you imagine passing things down accurately without the Internet?

I’ve been privy to witness, that the tradition of excellence my town, has more to do than just the happy disposition that often follows suit with living on the shoreline of one of the world’s Great Lakes. The tale of each home-town Tiger begins with tradition.

From the first day they high-five the elementary-school principal down hallways decked with yellow smiles, they are brought up to believe they can find their best and bring it out in others. The entire town cheers them on until they show up dressed in white to lookout from that shoreline together one last time …arm-in-arm. I’ve watched my daughters watch those beautiful graduates, confident they can conquer anything because they’ve been raised to believe that they will.

Confident, bright, and beautiful blooms are the result of roots. Spectacular moments of growth don’t last forever, but roots remain to break through the soil once again.

PERFECT copyChristians are confident in the joy Jesus. From the very first time we high-five Him as we’re dunked under the water, or whisper a prayer…His truth allows us to bloom beautifully along life’s bumpy road. Like the graduates confident they can conquer the world, He stands with us, arm-in-arm, in a victory that’s already been won.

4.Triumph

“I must say how pleased I am to hear that you remember me in everything and continue to hold on to the traditions I have passed on to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:2

Paul wrote this letter to the believers at Corinth as they were torn by spiritual immaturity in attempting to uphold tradition.

Triumph is synonymous for “coming back.”

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The “Last Day” tradition isn’t always a smoothly executed plan, but we all keep coming back. Tradition gives us a space to embrace our place on this earth.

Sometimes the frustration in having to be still is God whispering that you’re already here. Perhaps the purpose of my dream to live by the lake was simply to slow down and embrace tradition all along. That’s all God asks of us …keep coming back. Keep the tradition of meeting with Him everyday …of looking for Him in everything we experience. Those are strong roots, a stable foundation, a resilient reliance, and a triumphant destination.

Happy Summer!!!

Go Tigers!

Megs

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Stay encouraged!

The Zipper

How can I be certain genuine sensitivity is zipped into the teeth of my self-conscious mind’s motives? I don’t want my insecurities to jam my kids’ jackets. But that’s exactly what happens when I fail to spin inward. Selfish instincts fuel trauma. image

Before I speak my mind in witness to my children, I SIFT, hoping to model the selfless love Christ extends to me.

Selfish

“Concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc, regardless of others.” Dictionary.com

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Piece by piece, the remnants of pushing my babies on their little blue swing were hauled away. With every disassembled section, hours of images blurred through my tears. The animal sound quizzes, songs about ABC’s, and tickling their knees wavered through my mind.

Human default lends the out-flow of our actions to be inwardly influenced. Watching my children grow, I worry I’ve failed them, often becoming hyper-focused on the mistakes I’ve made.

My kids sift through their mistakes to the tune of their parent’s habits. Our oldest daughter is always right and never admits fault, and the youngest thinks it’s always her fault because she’s a terrible person. #parentfail

“We have different gifts according to the grace given us.”-Romans 12:6a

Gifts can be sifted to unearth seeds of growth and potential. It’s selfish to focus on every mistake when so much can be learned from each character trait. Instead of grabbing for the seam ripper, reach for each unique thread of joy sewn into you. Accepting the full spectrum God’s granted us is a healthy vision of what’s actually happening.

The daughter that always feels at fault is always trying to improve and be better, just like her momma. The daughter that stubbornly doesn’t let drama deter her is calm in the midst of chaos like her dad. In Christ, we’re aligned with whom He knows we already are.

Instinct

“An inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.” -Dictionary.com

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I wondered what was going through my Kindergartner’s mind as she pressed her head against the window and watched a piece of her childhood leave the lawn.

“YES!!!!!!!” she shrieked with glee, “IT’S TRAMPOLINE TIME!!!!!”

“Lauren, that’s an awful thing to say,” I snapped, “aren’t you sad to see it go?”

I should have applauded her positive turn of the page, but I let my failed wish to share a few tears with her negate that she reacted wrong. It’s hard to avoid self-critical cycles listening to my echo nag.

When the instinctive urge to be overly critical creeps up, I’m often symptomatically ready to snap. At the end of the day at the end of the week, I am emotionally at the end of my rope. A deep breath can place the urge lash out on the back burner. No matter how I yearn for the scene play, unexpected blessing is always laced within.

Trying times beg for the justice of Jesus, and the guidance of God’s great grace. The Holy Spirit is able to redirect our instincts to Christ before we rearrange our kid’s self-esteem. It’s hard to fight the parental instinct to harp, but God seeks to bless brave steps. (John 14: 15-17)

Fuel

“Something that gives nourishment…sustains or encourages; stimulant.” -Dictionary.com

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Sunday was trampoline assembly day, and my girls came bounding out in their pajamas to jump. I trekked back inside to the sound of gleeful cackles as my husband took the big empty box to the curb. Fear and worry pushed the nostalgic lump out of my throat. And just like that, they grew up a little more.

I don’t have a natural urge to let my kids go and grow. Though my first instinct is always to grasp firm, Christ reminds me He’s already holding on. The Spirit He left advocates peace to fight the fear that our flesh fuels. So, I can fill up my tank with thankfulness and trust, and let the joy of Jesus reign over the “letting go’s” of my life.

“If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Romans 12:6b

This verse is a picture of playing in the pocket. The gifts God gave us individually launch us into the people …and the parents …we’re meant to be. Kids need to understand how to react to difficulty by tapping into their strengths rather than wallowing in a weak spot. One of my favorite pastors recently preached on efforts to live out just one verse of the Bible instead of trying to learn the whole thing. I choose to let 1 Thes. 5:16, and who I am, fuel my life with joy.

“Be joyful always.” 1 Thes. 5:16

Trauma

“A body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury …an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.” -Dictionary.com

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…and then one of them flew right back out.

My Kindergartner landed smack on her back. Shrieking and covered in mulch, the scene of checking symptoms engulfed the kitchen.

“How could we have let this happen?” I said to my husband.

My natural inclination to roll over every insecure thought causes me to misconstrue, misinterpret …and just plain miss stuff.

LIKE ZIPPING UP THE SAFETY ZIPPER!!!  

I guarantee I was applauding myself for pressing my husband to get the thing built before sundown …or mulling over the weekend’s lot of conversations with friends to check for anything stupid I should be embarrassed about. Of all the warnings I give my children to heed, the most obvious preventions leak right out of my own insecurities.

The devil tries to traumatize us so that we jump around in doubt rather than with a clear conscious to contribute to the world around us. I am equipped to encourage my kids, even after they’ve flown out of the trampoline on my watch, because of the traumatic scars Jesus survived. We can fuel the fire of our selfish instincts, or  fan Christ’s flame of hope in our hearts. The capability is there. The choice is ours.

Sift

“Examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful.” -Google

imageMy kids don’t always witness the right reactions. I’m not always privy to patience. But, His grace renders this world’s trauma temporary. Let’s attempt to sift out all thoughts that don’t align with His truth.

“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and many.” Acts 24:16

Zip it up before you jump around.

Happy Jumping!

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The “Yes” Shoes

imageHe will straighten our stride, in His time, when we lace up our “yes” shoes.

I’m convinced my daughter thinks that her shoes will magically jump onto her feet if she stares at them long enough. When they don’t, her shoes fly over the foyer in frustration. And, oh …the agony …when a pair that normally slip right on no longer fit.

“Lo, stand up so I can zip them up,” I stammered in frustration.

“I AM,” she yelled and convulsed, convinced my help was overkill.

“Push your foot down harder,” I ordered. Her boots were swimmingly large mere “mommy” moments ago, but now needed to be pushed on.

“OK, let’s do the other one…”

Expanding feet shift goals. They also outgrow shoes.  image

Growth is predictably unpredictable, and keeping goals in stride with a shifting destination is hard. Has your finish line ever moved as you were about to break the ribbon? Here’s what I learned from my missed marathon and mommy moments.

Shoes too small.

A complete year off running didn’t yield a healed heal. And if I could go back, I’d risk a snapped Achilles and line up at the start of my first full marathon. God swapped my shoes regardless of my readiness to understand why.

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated with soon disappear.” Hebrews 8:13 (NIV)

I ran through snow and wind and ice …in shoes that were a complete size too small. Something that the runners at the running shoe store would have told me had I went there to be fitted for the right shoes before logging hundreds of miles.

Sometimes, we pray into God-sized goals. He wants us to dream big, and will bless our ambition to pursue, for His glory, the passions He laid in us.

imageProperly prepared with the right pair of shoes, the impact is absorbed efficiently and the weight is distributed properly. Experienced runners know that injury arises from a misaligned stride, often corrected by a shoe fit to guide feet as they strike the ground.

God does this for us. Through Christ, we capture the key to a corrected stride. God’s love is giant. He found a way to fit us for freedom. Jesus absorbs the impact and distributes the weight. To run straight, stick by His side.

In addition to personal conversation in prayer with God, He seeks to speak specifically through His Word. Dig in beyond devos, follow side-trails, and chase after characters. The pull to know why and the curiosity to question fit our feet for training.

Shoes that didn’t fit “in.”

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Hebrews 8:13 (above) speaks to us about outdated goals. About Old Testament customs and traditions that are no longer applicable or necessary. Jesus filled the gap those things attempted to bridge.

Google defines the effect of “obsolete” as “replacing it with something new.” And, anyone that lived through the 80’s can define “outdated.” Remnants of style may return redefined, but are fit for the “now.”

365 days ago, I took my running shoes off. I’ve been striding and striving everywhere but the road, tired and frustrated. God grew my feet before my shoes were fit to comprehend the change. The healing I prayed for came laced in lesson. I thought the goal was the marathon. He knew it was time to sit down …and write.

Every time I load the trunk up with bags of shoes that are too small for my kids, I feel ill-equipped to replace them all with the size that fits them. I’m not even sure what size to buy, what they will need, or if they will like them. Clearly, I need help with my own shoe size…

imageWe may have to adjust, grow, and shift …learn new patterns, drift in new waters, pursue new passions, open different doors, and stand on new stages. But Jesus picked us to fit where we fly.image

My identity in my daughter’s eyes is still “runner,” and she misses it just as much as I do. Her note is the nudge I’ve been waiting for. Could it be possible, that time spent obeying the development of one passion could be rewarded with the return of another? On this day, number 366 since the last time I laced up my running shoes, I believe His answer is “yes.” Fit in His shoes, the weight of many passions is bearable and possible. Today, I began to run again.

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God pauses passions to add in complimenting attributes to the fabric of our stories. Chapters and pages that we might have edited out, or never written, yet essential to who we are in Him.

Whether you’re training for a marathon, building houses, crunching numbers, or digging through a mountain of laundry …ask Jesus to adjust the fit. Children discover their passions by watching us let Him fit us to ours.

Jesus ushered in a new era. Life isn’t a Browns draft failing to produce a quarterback yearimage after year. (As a hometown Clevelander and life-long Browns fan, I’m allowed to say that.) Sit down, and let Him fit your feet.

Happy Strides,

Megs

imageMy long-time friend, Cherie, is the picture of perseverance as I type this, crossing the finish line of her first marathon. She has not just run through pain, but lived through it. A survivor in so many ways, never giving up …and always full of joy. A Mom showing her little boy anything is possible, and a light to everyone that knows her. Thank you for inspiring me with your constant kindness and positivity. Forever thankful to call you “friend.”  

Stay encouraged!

The Lashes

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Up before the sun, and on went the glue.

“Hold still,” I chuckled nervously to my daughter, “I don’t want them to stick on crooked.”

My seven-year-old squinted to catch my expression as the first false eye-lash cemented itself onto her eyelid. We both laughed as I covered up what I’d messed up with black eyeliner. It may seem over-the-top, unless you’ve ever applied mascara to a child before. #dancemomproblems

When Brianne began to dream of pointe shoes and pirouettes, I jumped whole-heartily on board. I knew that her dream would be harder than she or I could ever anticipate, but the journey sounded awfully amazing. As we drove to that first dance competition, fake lashes and bellies full of butterflies, we both had visions of how this dance journey would end …but neither of us knowing how the middle would be filled.

Surrender to sacrifice avoids spoiling our people potential. There are people purposed in the reach of each gift. Even through the joy of those who witness Brianne dance. Don’t listen to the critical voice of impossibility; give in to God’s view of reality. image

 Pursue The 4P’s:

1. Provision

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God challenges us to reach people from where we are at. Brianne may have a lofty dream, but she’s not demanding I accomplish the dream for her. She works. She prepares. She practices. She prays. But she needs a ride to class. She brought her Bible to me one day and wanted to talk about Nehemiah. Her pink and purple princess Bible introduces the book as such:

“God gives us tools to rebuild the broken into something beautiful.”

Nehemiah had a position close to the King, where God placed him in provision for the mission at hand… to rebuild Jerusalem. Nehemiah didn’t need to go back and re-establish Jerusalem, but his compassion for his people there literally moved him. God’s Word motivated him to achieve beyond what he could believe.

With God’s provision our lives change. They become purposed for purpose. 

We are all placed by God with the same great care to detail as Nehemiah.  It’s no coincidence that God has entrusted me to be Brianne’s motherly provision …to be there when she can flip across the stage like the dancers she admires, and as she struggles to land a cartwheel right now. I can’t, and won’t choose to (#freewill) do it right all of the time… but I sure will try my best to honor my place in her sweet life.

2.Preparation

What will happen when I get there?

“I shot back, ‘The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding…You get no say in this -Jerusalem’s none of your business.” Neh 2:20 (MSG)

Faith in God will move you to prepare to do the work to obey God. There’s no room for comparative standards, or worry about whispering, within God’s call for your life. imageI have an intervention with myself every time I’m drafted to help my kids learn or practice something new. It’s uber frustrating to watch them fail, and beyond my level of patience to channel the whining. They cry and my forehead vein surfaces reality-tv style. During the last episode, I found myself yelping, “KEEP SMILING…” through a grit-toothed, probably crazy looking smile. I think I made her repeat the same ten seconds twenty times. Poor gal. Her dance teacher is definitely called to prepare my child for her dreams in dance. My preparation in helping is sometimes simply to prepare myself to let go …a little.

3.Pray.

While the lashes were being peeled off on the car-ride home, Brianne asked if I had noticed her shaking while she danced on stage. I hadn’t, and inquired as to what she attributed her strength from.

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“I prayed out loud to God about it last night,” she responded.

“Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b

Prayer was Nehemiah’s power source. He leaned into prayer to propel him to action. He was smart, and hard-working. He planned and prepared. He resisted all manor of insult and attack with prayer.

“He consistently linked hard work and prayer together…the rebuilding of the city walls had to be arched by the reforming of a lifestyle.” -New International Encyclopedia of Biblical Characters.

4. Praise

Brianne cried all the way home when I told her she’d be dancing a duet in competition this year. “But you love to dance, I though you’d love this…” I stammered.

“With only two people on the stage?” She bawled. #terrified

…but she knew she did truly love to dance …so she prayed …and worked…and prepared.

Brianne conquered some serious stage fright, to let her light shine bright for the Lord. She learned where her strength comes from and what her gifts are for …at least for now. May she always…

“Stand up and praise your God, for He lives from everlasting to everlasting.” Nehemiah 9:5 NLT

After Jerusalem had been rebuilt, the people praised God.
I should often be praising God for the “sacrifices” I’m spoiled with. Dictionary.com defines sacrifice as “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.” 

By learning who God is, I remember who I am. I’m not privy to the middle. Day by day, prayer by prayer, I will eventually look back and know how it was filled in and what people God placed within my reach.

It’s imperative to step out of the bubble of familiarity to face the fear and the whispers. To get up on stage no matter how afraid we are, if that stage is where God put us to be. I’m confident Nehemiah’s motives for leaving the comfort of the castle were whispered about… It’s human nature to criticize what we can’t comprehend.

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What’s your stage? Where has God placed you to shine bright in the name of Christ?  I would love to hear about it.

Pray to Him out loud in the dark. Step outside of your bubble. Pray. Be brave. Shine.

Happy Bubble-popping,

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Cubes

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Do you ever have those moments with your children where you deliver sage advice, and then feel immediately guilty because you fail to receive and apply the same principles to your own life? (I’m raising my own hand.)

imageHolly Gerth’s gift to sift through the cobwebs of applicable truth catered to the way God created the human psyche is remarkable. In her new, You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide, she introduced me to new bits of my own reflection.

This inventory check drifted into a crucial life-stretch. My house is quiet for hours at a time …for the first time …in eight years. My injured Achilles heal put an end to the first item on my “kids in school all day” bucket list marathon, so I shifted over to the second… write a book. I’d rather conquer the pain of marathon training than the doubt of exposing my unqualified thoughts for all to pick a part. Holly reminded me, re-grounded me, and urged me forward into who God created me to be …as if we’d known each other a lifetime. Now that’s a gift.
I feel more equipped with wisdom in my calling, confidence, and conversation. The kind of wisdom James illuminates in James 3:17:

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

1. Calling.

“Nothing is more powerful than simple obedience.” -Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide.

James 3:17 wisdom is not your average type of wisdom. It involves obedience to in order to imagereach fruition. The Dictionary of Bible Themes defines James 3:17 wisdom as “given by God alone,” and “resulting in right action.” 

Each session of the Life Growth Guide reset my thoughts to the right caliber of wisdom. It’s easy to get lost in misdirected thoughts, and reset to worldly statutes when my flesh aches. But James 3:17 wisdom requires a purposeful process of understanding who we are built to become before we rationalize anything to anyone. In order to be called we must be listening to the right voice of wisdom. The One that trumps all achievement here on earth.  James 3:17 wisdom requires the right wisdom to fill the space between my ears.

2.Confidence

“Expectations are laws we place on ourselves and each other…What’s God’s answer to those expectations, to those laws we create for ourselves or let others lay down for us? Grace.” Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide

imageIs there anything more aggravating that when our character is called into question? I feel constantly on guard of attack in episodes of doubt. James 3:17 character is “full of mercy.” The Dictionary of Bible Themes dictates that the James 3:17 believer’s character is “to be merciful.” 

A confident calling is no coincidence. God gives us big enough feet to fill our God-sized dreaming shoes, but we have to lace them up. To build confidence to be able to pursue the path God’s laid out for us, we need to set realistic expectations based on what God’s gifted us. The Life Growth Guide did wonders in unraveling who God made me to be. Who knew there was a process that could determine what you were meant to do by what you like to do. #amazing

There’s so many times I make it harder than it has to be. Correctly based confidence is a product of wisdom applied. I love the part in Exodus when Moses’ face is literally lit up after experiencing the presence of God. (Ex. 34:29,35) When we spend time with God in His Word, He will not only illuminate the truth (Matt 5:14), but I believe our flames start to flicker brighter, too. Holley takes such great care to walk through God’s Word as it pertains to unlocking the potential He laid within our framework. That’s what makes it shine so bright.

3.Conversation

“But simply having a full life and experiencing life to the full are two very different things…A purposeful existence never happens by accident. We mush choose it every single day.” -Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide

The “good fruit” in James 3:17, according to the Dictionary of Bible Themes, is an “image of the church’s mission: a fruitful plant in a fruitless world.”

At the heart of every calling is a confident conversation To testify Jesus as the only way to imagethe Father. That’s what Christianity is all about. That’s the compass of wisdom directing us out of meaningless doubt and conflict and into the mission of spreading the Gospel. It’s imperative to go through a process like which Holley brings us through, so that we can execute the mission we are here on earth to accomplish until God calls us home.

 “True wisdom will go on …to make peace in the world.” -Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James 3:17

I want so badly to grab control of my gifts and squish them into goal sized ice cubes. But frozen fortitude isn’t going to thaw any hearts. It’s an everyday process of sacrifice. Leviticus 1 is all about sacrifice…the specifics of it…it’s really kind of gross…makes me want to be a vegan. But God spoke to me about the type of sacrifice I’m meant to make daily. The cubes. Purified of any particles I may not even have noticed I added to the water.

Walk through this journey with Holley. It was as simple as starting with what I like to do. What am I good at? Who do I drift towards?  God lent His wisdom through her words, to restore old and establish new confidence in my calling. I believe God will help you, through her faithfulness in answering her own calling,to realize that “You’re Already Amazing.” #foreverthankful

Happy Growing…

Megs

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Stay encouraged!

The Compassionate Quit

“Be merciful to those who doubt.” (NIV) Jude 1:22

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“I quit.”

With every Kindergarten foot-stomp, adult miscommunication, seven-year old sassy stare, and unnerved “NO!- That’s not something we tell the dog ‘NO’ for,” I holler down the hallways of my home, I yearn a little bit more for a vacation away from all of them …the people and the thoughts.

“You’re not a good parent…just give up.”

“You’re not a good wife…just give up.”

“You’re not a good friend…just give up.”

“You’re not a good writer…just give up.”

“You’re not a good …daughter, sibling, co-worker, church member …fill it in how it feels …and then just give up.”

If we’re being real, that’s someone’s reality. Today, it’s mine. I can see my lack of self-control reflected in my struggle to maintain the last word…even with my dog.

“Don’t you DARE bite me…” I’ll stare menacingly. They’re supposed to read your facial expressions, right? I’m not a good dog owner …maybe I should just give up.

My relationships reflect my constant battle with insecurities.

“They shouldn’t treat me that way…” Quit.

I crave entitlement to curb my doubts.

“I deserve better…” Walk away…again.

God met me right in the middle of this tantrum with a verse and a book that squashed my imagedoubt and commanded, “Don’t Quit.”

When we quiet the quitter by commanding compassion, we witness to the wavering. Through Jude 1:22 and Nicki Koziarz’s book, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit,” Christ compelled me to stop whining keep walking.

 1. Quit the quitter.

“Have mercy on those who are wavering.” Jude 1:22 (TLV)

“Have loving-kindness for those who doubt.” Jude 1:22 (NLV)

imageRefuse to pour out doubt before you recognize the reflection. It’s unworldly to look in the mirror to heal ill-regard towards others. Justification is the more acceptable method of problem solving in our legalistic society.

It’s not the people and the circumstances in my life that are causing me mental unrest…it’s the disheveled way I’m running the course through and to my calling. But when I reach out and read I find I’m not alone…

Jude was Jesus’ brother. Yet, his qualification to speak on Christianity came from a lifetime of growing up in the same household with, but not believing, he lived among the Son of God. #oops (Men of the Bible, Bible Gateway) 

Nicki’s honesty in revealing her “Quit List” comforted me to tears. #AMEN Testimony can reach out in such a personal way when the faithful share God’s story of their life.

Life Application: It’s easy to pitch a tent of pointed fingers and quit hard people and situations, but I’d rather look back at the meandering path of walking with Christ. When we feel a hint of aggravation creeping into our temperament, stop and pray for God to unplug the compassion-clog.

2. Command Compassion

“And have mercy on some, who are doubting.” Jude 1:22 (NASB)

“And of some have compassion, making a difference.” Jude 1:22 (KJV) 

“And you must show mercy to those who’s faith is wavering.” Jude 1:22 (NLT)

My qwerty keyboard lit on fire with crying smiley-faces when Nicki shared her experience with peroxide contact solution in her eye. I was so thankful not to be the only one who had somehow dismissed the bright red cap of warning, and pictured myself doing the spazzed-out eye-burning dance as she recalled her own. (Page 64, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.)

I expected her book to be funny and easy to relate to, but I did not expect to cry like a baby when she peeled back my secret struggle of marital life By unveiling her own honest sentiments. What secret? That it’s HARD. It’s so hard. Unbelievably hard, even when you’re blessed with the best.

I’m forever thankful she chose to come alongside of me that day. Her compassionate wave of the “It’s OK” flag released the flood gates of something I wasn’t sure was “normal” to feel. The next morning, God so faithfully and personally placed people in my kitchen to call it out and pray it out with me. #awesomeness.

“What is my responsibility to other people? Move with compassion. Touch the untouchable. Give what you can. Point to Jesus.” -Pastor Todd Nielsen, The Chapel

Christian love get’s lost in the movement, sometimes. Sharing the struggles behind the smiles of your life is “caring enough to move” (Pastor Todd Neilsen)…and that’s compassion defined. I pray God allows me to be there for other people like me, who exude laughter and encouragement, but are inclined and conditioned to tough it out.

Life Application: If we can learn to lean in to the One who made us a midst struggle and strife, I believe we’ll discover the confidence hidden in our truest pieces. And I know those pieces are meant to touch hearts and save souls.

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3. Witness to the wavering.

“On some have compassion, making a distinction.” Jude 1:22 (MSG)

“On some have compassion, using discernment.” Jude 1:22 (MEV

“Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt.” Jude 1:22 (TLB)

For anyone who tests out of personality quizzes with leadership skills like I do, the struggle with control is real. But God wouldn’t build a trait into my character unless He meant it for good. How can control be a good thing? The obvious benefits of self-control are easy to equate, but while studying this word I discovered a new layer.

“Control: A person who acts as a check. A check or restraint. To eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of. To test or verify…”-Dictionary.com

My religious upbringing lit the love of Christ in my heart, but there came a time when I imagehad to sift through rules to release my relationship with God. The floodgates of conversation flew open when I lifted up the consequential constraints of penance to begin running my disheveled course of calling. I had to lose control to gain control. 

Control of each soul’s marathon is beyond a human’s ability to reason and rule. As we stride up alongside each other on life’s disheveled course of calling, our duty is to extend an encouraging word and a “you can do it” through whatever personality skill you’re gifted the highest score.

“Christian freedom is not a hall pass to do whatever one wishes.” Case for Christ Study Bible, Jude image1:22  Rather, Christian freedom is the way Nicki described it in her book:
“Goodness, I mess up all the time. I say things I shouldn’t say. I have thoughts I shouldn’t have. I doubt when I should trust. I quit things I shouldn’t quit. And yet God is always there dabbing more and more grace on my soul. He doesn’t quit me; He just keeps ‘touching up’ the places of weakness in me.” Nicki Koziarz, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.”

Sometimes, God’s people will dab grace on your soul during the race…

Life Application: When doubters see you overcome what they are underneath, a “me too” mentality is born from testimony. Share the hard stuff, and be real with God about your stuff.

Each translation of Jude 1:22 perpetuates a unique revelation. God will speak your language, where you’re at. Jude’s letter emphatically urged his audience to be wary of “grumblers and fault-finders” toting Christian freedom as “a license for immorality,” (Case for Christ Study Bible) and ended his letter by pointing back to God, who is “fully able to keep those who put there trust in Him.” (NIV Study Notes James 1:24-25)

Synonyms for control, according to Dictionary.com, are: management, government, reign, rule, mastery. Rest assured, the author of the universe is in control. Everything has a flip side. Christians know the ending. Stay focused on the finish line, and make the choice to keep your control setting flipped to His.

“When we feel others are not giving us what we need, it’s really easy to give up. We start to feel resentful, and maybe a little entitled.” Nicki Koziarz “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.”

imageIt’s a disheveled course, but God designed my personality to persevere around every sharp corner and up every steep…never-ending hill. Jesus’ scarred hands extend compassion to me…which bleeds out of my life, and prayerfully onto those who need to know that He loves them, too. That’s the mission. Until the we hug Him in heaven …there’s no time to quit.

Happy “Not” Quitting…

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Purple Scar

If anything can trump everything, we are pushed into punishment.

My stomach twisted in fret like it did on the way up the first hill of the tallest roller coaster in the world When I was ten-years-old. I wasn’t ready to face that fear then, nor was I prepared to hear the Elementary School Principal’s voice on the other end of the line now.

 “Lauren made a visit to my office today because she spit in another student’s face…she was very remorseful…that’s what we want to see…”

I caught myself holding my breath just like I did down the first hill of the Magnum XL200 back in 1989, unable to digest the gravity of the situation, nor how my sweet little stinker-pants could possess the ability to make such a terrible decision.

“I’m so sorry, and so embarrassed,” I unraveled to the kindhearted voice on the other end. Not only was this the principal of my kid’s school, but a friend and former colleague from my XC coaching days. I was mega-watt mortified.

Some moments scar more vividly than physical wounds. 

The butterflies did laps in my belly as I waved to the Principal in the pick up line that afternoon, and then laid eyes on my little Kindergarten criminal…who was smiling and waving at me as if she’d had a banner day.

“Hi, Mommy!!!!” She bounced into the car with the sweetest smile and eyelashes-a-batting.

“How was your day,” I let out in a wispy tone of shock. This child, who normally cries of imageremorse before she’s accused, was acting as if I’d gotten the wrong parent phone call just hours earlier.

“Good…he he he!” I expected her eyes to well up and over, but she must have tearfully cleared her conscious already.

“What behavior chart color were you on today?” I asked, and the facial expression fell to fear.

“Purple.” Double edged sword. The first edge being that purple, her all-time favorite color, was at the bottom rung of the behavior scale. The second sharp pinch was the repetition of the offense…this was the second day in a row that the day’s square had been shaded purple. She was warned, reprimanded, repeated and then trumped the previous day’s behavior. And it was Tuesday. #parentfail

“The only reason I didn’t send her home on pink (the very bottom….) was because it wasn’t malicious…I saw the whole thing…she just got carried away…she has an ornery streak in her…” Her sweet teacher explained in a phone call after school.

“Not malicious…” Those words rang like sweet affirmation in my mind filling up fast with motherly doubt. I did know my own child. #notatotalfail

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In an instant, the light bulb lit on what had burnt Lauren’s capacity to cope and tendency to act out when squeezed. I saw the painful look on her face the weekend before, and noticed the way she isolated herself. I let my own “anything” matter more than taking the time to teach her to talk, unravel and resolve what was bothering her.

When we are put in the pressure cooker, we are inclined to explode or implode without applying God’s perspective. Lauren needed me to do aid her in that process.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

That’s a hard truth for me to recall and apply each day…especially when little red “uh-oh” button is pushed by a child of mine who has decided to live by her own set of rule …but worth the effort not to leave a purple scar. Download the knowledge of this verse along with me… 

1. Lift it up and let it go.

Lauren may not always talk out what she needs to process, but the little gal forgives herself with amazing ease. She’s very remorseful when the realization of wrong hits her, but then she let’s herself off the hook. It’s the negative reinforcement of the mistake that causes scarring slip ups to linger. She can recall every “bad color” day she’s ever had. Which is too bad, because they are swimming in a sea of banner days.

imageGod teaches me, through her witness of forgiveness, how bitterness is no more productive than a roller coaster train unexpectedly stuck at the top of the hill. All of the passengers are ready to experience the rest of the ride, but the train of bitterness is stuck at the top, unable to budge. It challenges me to do the work that being quick to forgive requires, lest I miss out on the rest of the ride God’s built into my life.

Jesus’ death opened the line of communication directly to God. The curtain was torn (Deut. 4:7),and the key to peace was given to us in grace by Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s easy to jump into a pool of panic and fear whispers when boundaries are crossed and rules are broken. That’s where discipline leaps off the diving-board.

“Discipline is our friend, not our enemy.” Joyce Meyer, “Living Beyond Your Feelings.”

Consequences must be upheld and new boundaries must be instilled. The laps I ran with my older child don’t always get repeated the same way…or at all…for my youngest. She’s cute, and funny, and the baby, and I’m guilty. Guilty for letting her fly under my radar and peek out every once in a while with an adorable melting of every ounce of my heart.

“God has set before us life and death, good and evil, and has given us the responsibility of making the choice.” (Deut. 30:19) Joyce Meyer, Living Beyond Your Feelings.

God showed me recently that “unconfessed sin is a barrier to prayer.” (Foundations, The Chapel.)

“Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:1-2

I appreciate the way God instills confidence in me as a parent through the work He simultaneously performs on my soul. By teaching me to be quick to recognize my lack of discipline and confess my sins, I am now more able to help my children do the same, on their level. #soulwork

2. Communicate with compassion.

I know that if I ask, He forgives. (1John 1:9) image

If there’s one thing God has helped me do great in my home, it’s apologize to my kids. After all the discipline was addressed, I knew I owed Lauren an apology.

“I forgive you, Lauren,” I began that purple day, “and I’m sorry, too.”
Tears welled up in her eyes, in amazement and relief that someone had noticed, and that someone cared. And with that, the potential for scarring was snuffed out by love.

I apologized to my sweet baby girl for all of the hours every week that she sat in the waiting room at the dance studio while big sister worked for her dream…for all the bed time chats we’ve never had…for not making a better effort to get her together with her friends…and work on her dreams.

“I love you, and what happens in your heart matters to me…you can tell me anything…I’m always here for you…I’ll always forgive you before you even say you’re sorry…and I’ll never love you any less…because that’s how God loves me.”
With a tearful hug, she whispered “thank you, Mommy…I forgive you…I love you…” into my ear.

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And there it is…Life within the love of Jesus.
I can’t expect myself or my child to be perfect, or “180” into everyone’s glorious approval …and I can’t prevent the scars she racks up from the lack of obedience we all struggle with. But I will love her always, and  I can bring her to lean into everything that I know about Him, to withstand anything that tries to push me into punishment…through Christ, who gives me strength (Phil 4:13) ..through His scars.
Happy Apologizing…
Megs

Stay encouraged!