Interrupted.

My daughter can internally digest her weekly vocab list in twenty minutes, but she often chooses not to. She likes it when I am her “study buddy.” The productive grown adult in me knows dishes could have been washed, laundry folded …but time is fleeting with my tween. I drop it all and enter into the tortuous two hours. Two hours is my limit. After that, it’s not fun anymore, none of her jokes or mannerisms are cute, and “God …bless it,” is the mainstream thought flowing through my conscious as I deep breath through to the finish. 

Though we enjoy many laughs along the way, for some reason my patience runs completely dry at two hours. Why? What else do I have to do? This is the child I prayed for and the blessed life I live. What is she interrupting me from? I need to be more interruptible. How many more Thursday evenings will she be excited about me being her study buddy? Be interruptible, Meg. God …Bless it. 

Being interruptible opens our eyes up to what’s going on around us. We travel through life with tunnel vision unless we purposefully adopt an interruptible persona. Adapting to interruptibility isn’t easy. We’re tuned into the conversations of others, but often we’re calculating our response before they are done talking. Or, thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner or what we will wear to morrow. Our minds are naturally fickle. It takes effort not to be selfish.

Being interruptible sets us a part. God …bless it. All of it. ALL OF IT. 

“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” Proverbs 10:22 NIV

All things happening under the sovereign sight of God (all things) are under His control. Yet, we serve a God who is interruptible. Created in His image, it’s in us to be interruptible, too. It helps to understand how all things are tied together by our great God. All-seeing and all-knowing, Creator of the Universe, His heart is moved by our prayers. He is close to the brokenhearted. He is our Defender, and Provider. How is He interruptible?

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,” Proverbs 3:13 NIV

To gain understanding of our God requires us to seek Him, as a result of which He promises we will find Him. How does this work, this understanding? And how do we gain wisdom? Just like anything else in life, trial and error, and layers of leaning in to learn. We have to want to know, and be open to His answers through prayer and His Word. He will connect things in life that appear to be coincidence, because though He may be interruptible …He is purposeful.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace- as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV

It’s hard to sift through the insanity of this world, but when we do truly seek God, He is faithful to be found. We don’t have to change first or earn His response. Through Christ, no system of religious actions are necessary to come close to our Great God. All can pray to Him, all are welcome, and Jesus came for ALL of us. Any entitled system of judgment set in place by humanity is not of God. Jesus came to wipe the old system away, and begin a new covenant with His people. To all who believe in Jesus Christ, and accept His sacrifice for their forgiveness on the cross, eternity in heaven awaits. We confess our sins, and are forgiven.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 NIV

God …Bless it. Let everything we do on this earth honor You, bring glory to You, and reflect our faith in You …and Your love for us. Help us to be interruptible. To pause and genuinely love the people in our lives well, for You love us so well. Jesus didn’t have to come down from heaven …be He did. He’s interruptible. The man who’s daughter was dying interrupted Him, and He raised his daughter from the dead. On the way, the lady that grabbled His robe interrupted Him …and He healed her. Jesus is interruptible …run to Him.

Happy Interruptibility,

Megs

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Hold Me Accountable.

I have a child who hears everything I say no matter how many floors of the house and blaring TV’s or devices separate us. She pops up into conversations at random and repeats things I thought were out of her earshot. I really wish I could screen her questions before she asks them, and cringe in fear of what she might say whenever her little hand pops straight up into the air to ask a question. She holds me accountable! Whatever I say is coming back at me, full speed …in front of everyone …at the most awkward time possible. There are no breaks in parenting! No breaks.

The digital age has it’s challenges for parents and kids alike. The questions are endless, the monitoring never-ending, and the app requests are constant. One generation is growing up immersed in information and accessibility like never before. The older generations attempting to parent their children through all of this haven’t lived through it from the ground up like they have. It’s challenging to stand in credibility when we’re learning so much on the fly, ourselves. 

In some ways, the generational gaps are very similar to those we experienced with our parents. But in many ways, the world seems to be a brand new ball game. A scary one. Terrifying, even. It’s not in our heads. We’re not being paranoid. It’s not a product of watching too much of the news. The world is catapulting towards it’s inevitable end at a very fast rate. We live in the end times, the time between Jesus going to heaven to be with the Father, and the time He will return again to set ALL OF IT straight. Until then, here we are. More broken than ever. More catastrophe than ever. More hurt, pain, suffering, and tragedy than ever. And since we’re more connected and technologically advanced than ever, we know more than ever about ALL OF IT. 

It’s overwhelming. 

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” Romans 3:19 NIV

Every mouth silenced. The VOICE paraphrase says, “muzzle every mouth, to silence idle talk, and to bring the whole world under the standard of God’s justice.” 

Holding ourselves accountable to God’s truth sends a powerful message to our children. Our actions make a bigger impact than what comes out of our mouths. Openly sharing our faith with our children makes a difference, but allowing them to watch us live it puts it in bold italics. Children want to be accepted for who they are, right now. They need to be loved for who they are, while they grow. In the midst of awkward transitions happening to the backdrop of an ever-changing world, our children need love to live.

We need Love to live. All of us.

There are things we are not going to be able to explain to ourselves, or to our children. There are simply no answers for all of the horrific things that happen in this world. No ability to understand them even if God gave them to us. How do we throw our trust in God, regardless? Everything we need to know can be unlocked by opening up the Bible and praying for understanding. Seeking God, and holding onto His promise that we will find Him. 

Christianity is not a mythical faith that requires us to throw all of our gumption into the unknown. Jesus Christ can be proven. If you are searching for answers, keep searching, keep asking, and you will find them. God is not hiding. In fact, He wants to be found. For ourselves, as parents, that’s an important fact to embrace. Our kids are watching us. They are watching to see how are faith holds us together. How we make sense out of the things that don’t seem to make sense. 

Our lives speak for themselves. 

In this world, we are promised to have trouble. We are told, as Christians, it will be even harder. Why would anyone sign up for that? For the promise of eternity with Christ in heaven. Fact finding firms the foundation of our faith, but walking with Christ brings us to our knees. The personal, daily care our Heavenly Father leads us with. Going before us, behind us, and remaining with us. Despite the world, despite ourselves, we see life through a different filter than those who choose to walk without Him. A filter of grace, hope, peace, and love …that surpasses all understanding. 

We cannot authentically love the people in our lives well unless we are putting Love first in our lives. It effects everything. Our kids notice, our friends see, our family knows. Strength comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ. The world is a mess, yep. It’s going to keep getting messier, yep. But hope is still hope. Love is still Love. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father who sees all and knows all. In ways we only get glimpses of, all of mess will be cleaned up, in due time. In His perfect time. In the meantime, we learn on the fly. We grow with our kids. We embrace every good thing and trust that God is somehow making good out of all the bad. 

When the world butts up against us, all abrasive and entitled, we can choose to forgive forward, love despite, and compassionately extend kindness. Our kids are watching. They are listening. They hear everything. Who are we echoing?

Happy Accountability,

Megs

“The Power of Christian Contentment,” Andrew M. Davis

“Believing the secret that ‘I am God-sufficient and it is enough to know that god is with me and loves me’ give us a remarkable staying power in serving others.” Andrew M. Davis, “The Power of Christian Contentment

This book walked right into the dusty corners of my life and swept out an amazing amount of discontentment. The entire work is straightforward, Biblically based, and incredibly convicting. The research and stories that intertwine with the lessons are incredibly captivating. This book is a game changer on this topic. 

In the early chapters of the book, the author states, “Christian contentment is heart work, deep and interior.” Throughout the book, Davis walks His readers through just that …some deep heart work! 

This book was well organized and wonderfully written. I was left convicted to pray daily for God to reveal any areas of discontentment in my life, as this book sparked vast growth in my heart on the topic. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to more about what Christian contentment is, and how we can do this characteristic justice in our lives.

“The tapestry of our life’s history is made up of Todays. And it should start with some basic spiritual disciplines, if we are ever to make progress to maturity in Christian contentment.” Andrew M. Davis, “The Power of Christian Contentment.” 

Click here to purchase your copy of The Power of Christian Contentment.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

ALL OF THE FRIENDS …

“Friends with Everyone” is the quest to love people in our lives well. God places people in our lives purposefully. As Christians, we are called to reach outside of our comfort zones in order to serve the people bordering our everyday lives.

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. 

To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 

To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. 

I have become all tings to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV (emphasis mine.)

Love finds common ground. Paul isn’t advising us to change for people in these verses. He’s challenging us to find common ground with the people in our lives. There is common ground to be found. It’s not an easy quest. There are lines we will be tempted to cross and company we wish would could keep closer. We will be called to ruffle a few feathers in righteousness. We will be left out, called out, questioned, and ridiculed. Being friends with everyone requires us to flip all of the hurt into forgiveness, and trust God with transformation.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV

We wouldn’t die for someone that hurt us. We wouldn’t die for someone who didn’t apologize for the hurt they caused …and we surely wouldn’t die for someone intent upon hurting us again. Jesus did. Compassion and kindness come from Him. All of us continue to fall short every day, yet the forgiveness Jesus died to grant us, to go before us and pave for us, isn’t effected by our inability to overcome the broken world we live in. He has already defeated what we could …and cannot. It. Is. Done. A true understanding of forgiveness breaks the cycle of hurt and allows the love of Christ to flow through our lives.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NIV

I believe we take this verse out of context when we use it as an excuse to shun people who are different from us. What good is all of our wisdom about Christ, if we hide from the people that don’t know what we know? Like Paul, through adversity …seek diversity. But we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. He was friends with everyone, without sacrificing His mission.

Jesus had a close group of twelve friends, and out them three were extremely close to Jesus. Still one, John, was Jesus’ best friend on earth. We’re clearly called to choose our close circle of friends with care, but leave the door open. May our light reflect His Love.

I shudder to think of all the rich friendships I would have missed out on, had I not decided to leave my Monday morning Bible Study group open to anyone. Whether or not they go to church or believe in God is between them and Him. Our job is to open the door and share what we know.

“Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious- don’t get infected.” Proverbs 22:24-25 MSG

The more friends we have, the greater the risk of getting hurt. Learning how to survive devastating blows to our character and create healthy boundaries is all part of the package. Can I tell you something? It’s through our reaction to those situations that our faith is put on display the most.

Loving the people in our lives well leads us to brotherly and sisterly love. As we grow in wisdom and away from the lessons of our past, God is faithful to provide friends that are racing towards Christ alongside us. Never take these friends for granted. These are the best friends. The ones who don’t get all awkward and subject-change when we start to talk about Jesus. No, these are the friends who lean in to learn alongside of us. Every broken hearted moment is worth it to find these people in life. But we can’t stay there. 

We are called to be friends with everyone. 

Happy Friending, 

Megs

The “Yes” Shoes

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

It seems my daughter thinks 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 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 Achilles heal. There are moments I’d go back in time and risk a complete tear to 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, wind and ice …in shoes a complete size too small. A simple fix 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’s 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 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 maximize each stride, we must stick by His side.

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

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Hebrews 8:13 (above) speaks to us about outdated goals. About Old Testament customs and traditions no longer necessary because of the gap Jesus filled.

We naturally replace what is obsolete. 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. 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 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

And now …

As I read this reminiscent post today, I am rolling the balls of my feet on golf ball to treat a case of plantar fasciitis that has all but crippled me to a chair for a while. I did return to running, and completed my first half-marathon last fall. I ran the entire 13.1 miles with a smile on my face and praise music in my ears. I don’t NEED running to feel complete anymore. Now, it’s a gift I get to enjoy when I can … The injuries will continue to come, but working through them reminds me of my pursuit of Christ. It’s not always easy, but worth every stride. I did obediently sit down to write after I had no choice and nothing else left to do but to. Thus is God’s patience with me. My first book, “Friends with Everyone,” is out in the world, and the second is on the way …The greatest joy of this journey are the moments of connectivity with my Father as I write. The heart strings pulled gently into tune by my Savior. It’s a thrill I’ll shelve my running shoes for, anytime He calls me to (and I love that He allows injury to see to it I’ll actually do it!)