The Sunburn (#jammed daily devo, day 243)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 243: Relieve the sting.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”August 31

“Here I am,” he replied. -Genesis 22:1

“OUCH!!!!” one of my kids screamed.

“SHE SLAPPED MY SUNBURN!!!”

Mine isn’t the only household this calamity has ensued in. The one wasn’t paying attention to the other, so the other decided to take matters into her own hands …with a slap …to fresh sunburn.

I consoled the tears with lightly squeezed hugs and air-applied aloe vera …but payback would soon come. A payback slap was already being calculated …I could tell.

In today’s verse, God is trying to get Abraham’s attention.

“Abraham.”

I love that when God wants our attention, He will call us by name. For us, it’s not audible, but our calling is no less individualized. We are each created with such definitieve purpose, but never slapped into paying attention. Sin is consequential, and that hurts, but God calls…

“Abraham.”

He will keep calling us until we answer, “Here I am.”

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for calling us by name. It reminds us of how special each one of us are to You. Thank You for building a purpose into each of our lives. A purpose and a plan that is beyond our mind’s ability to comprehend. Forgive us for turning from Your voice. Help us to grow in Your Word and to follow Your Son to and in the calling and purpose for our lives. 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 Paying Attention,

Megs

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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.”  

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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