#saywhat?! …What’s Up With My Mouth?

Hashtags are now a part of verbal communication. The words we # have power the power to create searchable content. The words we verbalize, type, text, share and air hold the power to dignify or deflate. 

My current parenting resolution is #dontraisemyvoice. Once I factor out school, playing with friends and extra curricular activities, I only have to hold it together for 3 or 4 hours on weekdays. Most would say my odds are pretty good, and I wish I could tell you it’s been a smashing success … but there’s a reason for resolution. #stillyelling

“The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing; but if you are wise, you’ll speak less and with restraint.” Proverbs 10:19 VOICE

“Mom, you don’t have to apologize to us …we don’t even deserve you.” 

What did I have to apologize for? #yelling. Unfortunately, lofted above the apology are the hashtags formed while I was losing my patience. My careless words distort and begin to plant seeds of deceit …#lies.

Psalm 119:165 says “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” We don’t always like, much rather love, God’s law in our everyday lives. Which is why our bad attitudes drip down into our words, and the opportunity to water lies in the minds of their recipients.

Great peace. “Complete security and well-being,” to be accurate. (NIV Study Bible Notes) People that have peace don’t need to make #dontraisemyvoice resolutions. What was I missing? Love.

Proverbs 10:12 says that “hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.” (NIV) The love in this verse is different. This love accomplishes what we cannot: love for a law that we don’t understand, like, or want to follow in the moment. The love of the Law, Himself. (Strongs 157/160) 

My mouth represents my heart, which could be undergoing all manner of spiritual battles at any given time. The risk of blowing up at my kids is that they will start to believe and apply the wrong hashtags. Above the endearing and encouraging words I speak and pray over them for the 3 hours and 58 minutes I have with them some weekdays …they start to carry around …wear around …the other 2 minutes that I was overly critical and terribly impatient while they acted like the 8 and 10 years olds they are. 

“Oh, yes I do have to apologize,” I explain, “because no matter how disobedient you are or impatient I am …I know better than to react like I did.”

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8 NIV

Again, same English word, different definition of Biblical love. This time, “brotherly love, affection, good will, love.” This New Testament love is possible because of Jesus. Through Him, we can love each other with the same love that covers a multitude of sins. We can become living channels of His love. 

When my bad attitude leaks out of my mouth, it’s a heart problem. My problem. Not my children’s fault. Not my husband’s fault. Not the ridiculous pendulum of a midwestern winter’s fault. (And not the Brown’s fault for not clinching a spot in the playoffs …OK a wild card spot -let me dream.)  It’s a hearth issue. So, how do I fix it?

“The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Proverbs 10:8 

  • Get the Right Advice. The way to peace and love is through their Author. There’s no shortcut to this. I have to set aside time to read God’s Word before I talk to anyone else. Maybe you can handle conversations before Jesus and coffee, but I can’t. 
  • Listen to Your People. God doesn’t do coincidence. He places us purposefully. I can choose to walk through daily life paying attention to the people in my live, and focusing on how to love them well.
  • Do it. Submission means to drop my way for the right way. Repeated, it becomes a reflex. In the case of my bad attitude controlling my mouth …I can consciously reroute that authority, choosing to apply wisdom before my words fly out. 

Matthew 12:34 reminds, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” 

I speak love when I know who I am. Forgiven in spite of my 2 minute meltdown, and loved before I can find the discipline to fix it. When I wear those hasthags, I’m more likely to pass them on. #neverlovedless #alwaysforgiven.

Happy #-ing …

Megs

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The Radical Resolution

RADICAL …Living Life Within the Love of Christ.

“Always forgiven …and never loved less.”

Fresh tears hit my shoulder. After-school conversations leave my throat hoarse and my heart raw. Moments earlier, my daughter let shreds of hopelessness bounce off the bright kitchen walls.

“I don’t even know who I am, anymore.”

Walking through change is never easy, and tween life had been taking it’s toll on her. We’ve been able to laugh through many moments of out-of-character outbursts, but today was not one of those days. 

“Well, I do,” I assured her. “Do you see that girl?” I asked. 

A square plastic frame atop my desk holds onto the picture of her 3-year-old face. Below it, a sticky note contains carefully scribbled out words from a daughter who had witnessed her momma in pain: 

“I love you 

Mommy and I’ll always

be there for you. 

I just want to let 

you know you can tell 

me anything. 

Luv, BB.”

 “You are still that girl,” I pushed the words out through the lump in my throat, “You will always be that girl.” 

The truth I spoke over my first-born knocked the wind right out of me. As I listed one attribute of her character after another, her eyes slowly brightened.

“You will grow wiser and change in some ways …but you will always be that girl …and I will be here to remind you when you forget.”

Christ utters the same truth into my heart, and yours. Romans 5:2 says, “Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace.” (VOICE paraphrase)

In one half of one paraphrase of one verse of one book from one Testament of the Word of God …we wrap our arms and minds around who Jesus is, what radical means, and how grace saves our lives. 

When I look at my life I hardly recognize anything I would classify as “radical.” It takes strength to be radical, joy to be strong, and faith know joy. But if we look at this verse a little closer, we’ll realize how radical our everyday lives can be …and perhaps already are. 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 NIV

“…we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…” (emphasis, mine.)

Paul is talking about the grace fundamental to who we are. In Christ, the way we were created to be, causes us to rejoice in our everyday lives. By continually coming back to Him, and seeing who we are in Him, we are able to find peace and joy in life. (Strongs 5485)

…”Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith …” (emphasis, mine.)

Faith is the conviction of the truth. The character of one who can be relied on. (Strongs 4102) I can’t be relied on, but Jesus can be. Him in me allows me to be reliable for someone in a moment when they need to know that He knows they are alive and desperate down here. Hurting and barely holding on. 

2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]-“ (AMP)

Walking by faith means to pay attention to the world around us, ready and willing to participate in opportunities to love others each day. (Strongs 4043) I don’t always do that, because sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I have a bunch of problems, failures and missed opportunities I don’t air out on facebook, nor does anyone we’re still following after the political season. But outside of the confines of social media, we need to live radically authentic lives. 

My daughters, friends, and others placed purposefully in my life need to hear the disappointments I wouldn’t trust to my facebook friends. God has placed us purposefully in this life. If we hide our gaping wounds, no one heals.

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight  …” (emphasis, mine.)

Faith doesn’t operate on what we can see. Even when we’re walking like we should be, we can’t always see the struggle behind the smiles. (Strongs 1491) If we want to have radical faith and live radical lives, we have to turn the “this makes sense to me” filter off, and start operating on the truth of God’s Word. I choose to remember His radical love for me, in the shape of cross.

For the last decade I’ve treated motherhood like a career, reading books, seeking advice and praying harder than I have ever prayed. Being a mom has taught me how quickly I reach the end of myself, and every stage of motherhood includes a part I don’t like to willingly embrace …letting go. With the onset of every aggravated tween-age tone and frustrated glance, I’m reminded. 

But I choose to remember who she is, and that makes all the difference. 

To function below the surface we have to foster and fight for our faith. Everyday reminding ourselves that we are part of something bigger and going somewhere better. Choose to remember. Aim to receive this radical love every day, from whomever or whatever His delivery system is …then look around to pass it on.

“I love you 

_________ and I’ll always

 be there for you. 

I just want to let 

you know you can tell 

me anything. 

Luv, Jesus.”

Have a Happy and Radical Year,

Megs

The Turn (#jammed daily devo, day 363)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 363: Don’t forget to spot.

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (VOICE)

“Mom! Mom!” my little ballerina leaped into the kitchen with glee, “Look how many times DECJAM29I turned!”

My tiny dancer had been determined enough to earn a lot of monetary support through her skill at the dance team’s turn-a-thon fundraiser. It was a lot more than I could do without losing all of the day’s nutrition, but she had learned how to continue turning without getting sick or falling down. A skill every ballerina has to learn …how to spot.

Spotting is simply finding a place to focus the eyes on while the rest of the body turns. The goal is to hold that gaze as long as possible, until the body demands that the head whip around with it. Then, quickly, the dancer removes their eyes from that spot for a split second, and then finds it again. The whole process is repeated for as many times as their are turns required.

God will provides us with the talent He has gifted us to work with. The challenge lies in knowing what that is, and when and how to work hard. It’s hard to find our spot, and challenging not to discount our gifts in seasons of hard work. Self-doubt can sink-in when life isn’t running in the direction we feel like going.

Today’s verse was written out of encouragement for a discouraged people, but a people that worshipped God. There is shelter and encouragement in faithful worship and willingness to keep working. 

When we venture outside of the window God has designed for us to work, it’s easy to become distracted. The world around us, and the needs that pop up daily, press us. Tuning in to God’s voice above the volume of other opinions and advisors in life is critical.

The wisdom and guidance we seek is revealed through God’s Living Word. Jesus promises never to leave us. Day by day, in search of wisdom, He will teach us and guide us. Jesus is our refuge this side of the gospel.

Looking to the next year of life and the resolutions it begs us to set, let’s challenger ourselves to pick a verse to spot as we turn the calendar over day after day. Eyes on Him maintain balance.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for being our shelter in the darkness, and our hope in times of need. Thank You for reminding us of Jesus in our lives, and in verses that we’ve never noticed Him before. We can be assured that He’s there, and ask for Your forgiveness for brushing Him aside to pursue what lies in the darkness, anyway. Bless us to be wise in working the window You have purposed us to perch upon. 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 Spotting,

Megs

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

 

The Turn (#jammed daily devo, day 363)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 363: Don’t forget to spot.

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (VOICE)

“Mom! Mom!” my little ballerina leaped into the kitchen with glee, “Look how many times DECJAM29I turned!”

My tiny dancer had been determined enough to earn a lot of monetary support through her skill at the dance team’s turn-a-thon fundraiser. It was a lot more than I could do without losing all of the day’s nutrition, but she had learned how to continue turning without getting sick or falling down. A skill every ballerina has to learn …how to spot.

Spotting is simply finding a place to focus the eyes on while the rest of the body turns. The goal is to hold that gaze as long as possible, until the body demands that the head whip around with it. Then, quickly, the dancer removes their eyes from that spot for a split second, and then finds it again. The whole process is repeated for as many times as their are turns required.

God will provides us with the talent He has gifted us to work with. The challenge lies in knowing what that is, and when and how to work hard. It’s hard to find our spot, and challenging not to discount our gifts in seasons of hard work. Self-doubt can sink-in when life isn’t running in the direction we feel like going.

Today’s verse was written out of encouragement for a discouraged people, but a people that worshipped God. There is shelter and encouragement in faithful worship and willingness to keep working. 

When we venture outside of the window God has designed for us to work, it’s easy to become distracted. The world around us, and the needs that pop up daily, press us. Tuning in to God’s voice above the volume of other opinions and advisors in life is critical.

The wisdom and guidance we seek is revealed through God’s Living Word. Jesus promises never to leave us. Day by day, in search of wisdom, He will teach us and guide us. Jesus is our refuge this side of the gospel.

Looking to the next year of life and the resolutions it begs us to set, let’s challenger ourselves to pick a verse to spot as we turn the calendar over day after day. Eyes on Him maintain balance.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for being our shelter in the darkness, and our hope in times of need. Thank You for reminding us of Jesus in our lives, and in verses that we’ve never noticed Him before. We can be assured that He’s there, and ask for Your forgiveness for brushing Him aside to pursue what lies in the darkness, anyway. Bless us to be wise in working the window You have purposed us to perch upon. 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 Spotting,

Megs

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

 

The Assembled.

Grace

A virtue coming from God. Merriam-Webster 

“Girls, – one at a time,” I pleaded while the dog darted from the room with a box corner in tow. (Anything remotely paper-like …it’s ridiculous.)

“DDDAAAADDDDD!!!!!! POCKET KNIFE!!!!” my youngest demanded. (Everything must be sprung free from all restrictive packaging immediately.)

“Lauren,” her big sis noted, “you just opened two in a row, it’s my turn.”

the-assembled-tweet-1The New Year brings change, some planned, some swift. Resolutions that are well-calculated goals, and struggles that are desperately lifted up. Like a youthful Christmas morning, it’s hard to maintain composure throughout the changes of heart, or shifts in life’s direction. But grace can be maintained when intentions are drafted in the right light.

Impatient Assembly

Christ is there when the aim to achieve is beyond our ability to reach.

“Dad!” my six-year-old demanded, “please put my Lego castle together.”

Legos still send me into a tantrum. We all have our “Legos” don’t we?  The things we know need to be put together, but lack the execution required to admire a finished product.assembled-image-1

Patience must be fostered into maturity. Only the Creator, Himself can snap a resolution into fruition. Do we realize the pieces that are dumped out onto the table when we aim to grow? Our Father is astute to the steps He drafted.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thes. 5:28

Grace exudes wisdom. It doesn’t throw a half-assembled Lego tower across the room because a step was skipped. Wise people know that serves no purpose.

Lauren trusts her Dad to assemble what she cannot, because she’s seen him do it before.

God-gifted, by Jesus’ death on the cross, grace allows inquire upon God to calm reactions beyond our control.Wisdom is born from the release of our expectations into the hands of His guidance.

Patient Assembly

My oldest daughter, graduated from watching and helping her dad, now follows hundreds of steps to put thousands of tiny little blocks together.

“Do you know the best advice that Daddy ever gave me on building Legos?” she replied to my amazement, “He told me to make sure it was facing the same way as the picture in the directions.”

Grace in the face of a frustrating process is a gift to behold.

I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”  Romans 1:7

assembled-image-2

Paul reaches out through ancient words to bless hearts budged by the Holy Spirit. We won’t be fully assembled until we embrace our Father in heaven. Grace is not an automatic setting we can activate without the love of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The pressure is off. We’re not dysfunctional, we’re just not capable …alone.

Before setting resolutions beyond what we’re crafted to achieve, let’s ask the Father to guide our resolve. Dreams are pieces of God’s destiny. Waypoints along each illumined path. God can be trusted with our assembly.assembled-tweet-3

Look back on this past year and revel in the blocks He’s built, or dumped back onto the table to be reassembled. God is not looking to change us into different, more ‘compliant’ people. He’s looking to cover what we can’t handle with grace.

I resolve to receive the full scope of God’s grace in 2017. How about you?

Happy 2017! #greatgrace17

Megs

This post may be linked up with the following amazing writer’s:

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