The Bare Feet (#jammed daily devo, day 222)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 222: No shoes … no problem.

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything August 10you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

There are so many pairs of shoes in my house …yet every morning it’s the same routine.

“Where are your shoes?!”

My daughters never have their shoes on when it’s time to leave the house. They look at me like I am some sort of alien creature from another planet to have expected them to put something on their feet before they walk out the door.

How can they forget to put their shoes on? It boggles my mind. Whether it’s cold, wet, or summer out …to go anywhere requires shoes.

Today’s verse is telling us to put our shoes on before we go out the door and into the world. But not literal shoes …well, those are good too, but our faith. When we walk out into the world it helps to have our faith on.

Though Christ never leaves us, we tend to forget about Him when we starting walking out into the world. Soon we look down and wonder why our feet are all cut up. When we neglect to remember Him all day long, we walk without Him … hurting our ‘feet.’

“…live righteously, and He will give You everything You need.”

Spending time with God in the Word each day is like putting on a brand new pair of cushy running shoes before leaving the house. He’s protecting the ground that we walk on, and less likely to let whatever we run into that day cut us to bits …emotionally, mentally, maybe even physically.

Light your path with the Word before going out into the day. 

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Father, Praise You for protecting us in this life. There are things that we come up against each day that we don’t even realize, and we thank You for watching out for us. Forgive us for running out into the world with bare feet, and bless us to remember to carve out time to spend with You each day. 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 Trodding!

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Summer Gloves (#jammed daily devo, day 218)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 218: Purposed differently.

“Even though no one (except Jesus) owns me, I have become a slave by my own free will to August 6everyone in hopes that I would gather more believers.” 1Corinthians 9:19 (VOICE)

 In the North, we associate gloves with the cold weather …which may sometimes last from fall to summer …go away for a few weeks …and then return all over again. But as a dance mom, we quickly learn, that gloves are always everywhere.

Some things have a broader purpose that we don’t catch, because we aren’t used to applying them in that way.

Paul is talking about his purpose in this verse above today. People can have a purpose that we don’t recognize if we don’t understand what’s happening in their hearts. No one is making Paul spread the gospel around. He’s doing it out of the Love living in his heart.

It’s a concept as foreign as wearing gloves when it’s ninety degrees outside. If we don’t relate to why, we can’t understand how. 

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, it makes sense. Maybe not the glove part, but absolutely the telling people about Jesus part.

“I have a become a slave by my own free will…”

That’s a tough statement to understand outside the confines of a Christ-led life. There’s nothing else we’d rather do than share the Love we witness when He resides in our heart. We start to understand compassion, as we learn of His compassion for us.

The Living Word comes alive for us …and the gloves come off.

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Father, Praise You for loving us perfectly. Thank You for calling us to follow Jesus in Your perfect time. Forgive us for taking our faith for granted, and help us to be courageous in spreading the Love of Christ. 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 Living,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Land

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Witness is woven into everyone’s life, but not all have a natural appreciation for their “place.” Clevelanders have taking a beating for decades. For the state of their city and “the curse” on their teams. I am them.

“Against all odds…

I don’t now why we want to take the hardest road…

I don’t know why the Man above gives me the hardest road…

but the Man above doesn’t put you in situations that you can’t handle…

and I just kept that same positive attitude…

Instead of saying ‘why me…’

saying ‘this is what He wants me to do.”

-LeBron James, after winning the 2016 NBA Championship

This generation of Cavaliers basketball players capped off a legacy that began long before they started playing in the big leagues.  My feet froze watching Elway crush our football team. I watched the old stadium fall. I wondered if a lost $100 bill had fallen from a very tall pocket grabbing a bite at Whitey’s after a game at the Richfield Coliseum. I walked to “The Jake” after work many summer nights in run of the late 90’s.

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My most cherished sports memory isn’t the Brown’s rookie graveyard I put up in my front yard on Halloween. It’s not training camp in Berea every year, where the hope of every Browns fan is at it’s most realistic peek. Not the sense of a piece of home seeing people you knew “back then” in the same tailgate spot. Not post game victory walks or seeing concerts at my favorite fields. Not even a long awaited raise of a shiny gold trophy.

It’s my brother…

And his little-kid face…

…at the local restaurant in the burb we grew up in, taking off his unbent hat to have a couple CAVS write a little history into his heart. He’s the biggest Cleveland fan I know.

The energy. The camaraderie. The land.

When the homesick tendencies of dorm life set in, I clung to the conversations over commonalities. Fellow fans felt like family, and I began to realize that “home” wasn’t just teenage angst waiting to bust out and get out. “Home” was layered into my heart.  No matter where I reside, my heart beats to “Cleveland Rocks.”

The life of a Clevelander is built into the layers of adversity. As the seasons change, jobs get lost, the Browns get worse, and the trophy eludes …we remain. We hold on to hope. We welcome you home. We believe.

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“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

We’re all tempted to throw in the towel. When the environment that surrounds starts to crumble in around us, the tempting tendency is to run …quit …move. Tenacity is woven into tough spots. Stuttering human stamina indicates opportunity for God to move. Will we follow fight or flight, or sit and stay to see why?

Paul is comforting us in that we’re all tempted. Christ was tempted. To sin. To quit. To run. To move. It’s not in the want to waver that we fail, but in the actual running and moving. In the stillness of our hearts, we choose whether to soldier on …to trust Him at His word …to wait on why.

Witness is woven into every life. LeBron, and his faith that God won’t test him beyond what he can handle, represented an entire city that shares that mentality. Can’t give up. Won’t give up. We will stay and wait.

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I didn’t watch any games this year. Not until there were 10.6 seconds remaining. Bracing for the heartache of a city and another reel tacked on the highlights of our almost accomplishments. Fearing the faltering crack of one team under so much pressure. But, in my Northeast Ohio heart, I believed it could happen. Against all odds. That’s CLE life.

BELIEVELAND.

PERFECTWe believe in each other. Because, under fire, sometimes that’s all we’ve got. Just to glance up, grab the hand beside us, and soldier on. Keep going …hoping …cheering …willing.

It’s just a game in a world filled with so much injustice, hurt, and tragedy. Just a trophy coming to reside in a city on a quest to come back.  But weaved into the win are streets full of people from all walks of life… in the city where someone always knows someone you know… embracing the victory of hope fulfilled …in a city that’s come back.

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Thank you, Cleveland, for bringing out the best piece of humanity …love. For who we are, for our history, and for our “place.”

It’s my “place.” It’s our “place.” #allin

Happy Parade Day, Cleveland! Let the ticker tape fly!

Megs

 

 

 

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.”