YOU are different.
I see it in the heart of the words that each of you write and in the actions of others of you that I know.
I’m different too.
I know it. But sometimes I doubt that I am. Do you ever do that?
God’s word says…
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.”
1 Peter 2:21 NLT
Often I think we imagine one who is different as something bigger… like Noah who built an Ark when everyone else surely thought he was crazy. That kind of different. Or Paul who dressed in potato sacks and ate bugs all the while spreading the good news. That’s really different.
But, it doesn’t always show up like that. At times it does, but in between we’re still different and maybe… just maybe… it’s all the little differences that lead us to the calling of a big one here and there.
So if you’re like me and you doubt you’re different sometimes then this encouragement is just for you!
You know you’re different if..…
You let go of your money when you don’t have any
You give your time when you’re already in a hurry
You give up your place in line when you don’t really want to
You offer your turn when you’ve waited a long time
You forgive when it’s really hard
You love when you don’t feel like it
You show patience when you’re actually at your wits end
You give grace when it’s undeserved
You’re okay with being last or not receiving the best
You look at what you have and you’re grateful because you know what you deserve
You count blessings instead of victories
You want for the Lord more than you want for anything else
So, do you see it? I do… yep, we’re different. And it has nothing to do with “what” we do, but every-thing to do with “why” we do.
It’s a Jesus thing.
His example. Our desire to follow it. And His strength to carry it out. We really shouldn’t doubt. We should just go on being different because… it shows.
Failure is giving my tender heart a pretty good beating lately. There are some things in my life that I’ve repeatedly attacked with a big, fat, red-lettered “FAIL” stamp. I tend to dwell on these things. I allow my mind to trick me into thinking the consequences of my failures are tragic to the point of no repair. Failure makes a lasting impression on me… on my soul. It shapes the way I feel about me and often blinds me from seeing anything else but my inability to succeed.
Can you relate?
It’s sad, really because even though experiencing failure is a very real thing it doesn’t mean that there are no victories at all.
Sometimes it is necessary to sift through the failures in our life to discover the many victories hidden within… much like panning for gold… if you don’t look very carefully you’ll miss them completely.
We can choose to focus on all of the things we’ve failed to accomplish or we can celebrate the things we did.
So, I do this… pan for gold in the sea of my failures and I come up with some shiny nuggets. Some victories. But as they begin to show through the mud and mire they take on a different shape… they look and feel a lot more like blessings.
Victories or blessings? The answer lies inside our perspective.
The definition of victory is:
A success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war. A success or superior position achieved against any opponent, opposition, difficulty, etc.
The definition of blessing is:
A special favor mercy, or benefit. A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
I wonder if calling them victories implies that we are in control of our ability to succeed and if calling them blessings gives God the credit He deserves. I wonder if our focusing on them as victories is the very thing that causes our failures to take center stage. And, if instead, we focus on them as blessings then it is God’s glory that radiates.
Perhaps this is why counting our blessings makes life circumstances seem so insignificant. Either way, call them victories or call them blessings… I don’t know about you, but all failures aside… I’ve got a lot to be grateful for.
“From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”
Today begins a new homeschool year for us. I’ve spent the last two weeks planning and preparing for this very morning. Last year at this time I wrote about all the “newness” of our year ahead and this year it’s mostly about the challenge.
I’ll be honest. Homeschooling isn’t easy. I was very close this year to putting them in a private school. I even called and maybe would have done it, but for the fact that there was not a space for my fourth grader.
I’m glad now, though. And I have a feeling… no, I know that God stepped in… because I moved ahead of Him. I was disappointed that day because I was tired. And fearful. Afraid that maybe I wasn’t doing a good enough job. Worried that now with a new Kindergartner, second and fourth grader I’d never survive. That I might ruin them with my undisciplined and disorganized nature.
But, the truth is God never released me from my call to homeschool. I’ve always known that homeschooling was never just about the kids. In my days of wrestling with the Lord before I even began this adventure I knew it was equally about me facing that unruly nature within me. The impossible. But, with the One who makes it all possible right by my side.
I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is my challenge and I know He has great plans for me. I don’t want to miss the miracle moments in my life.
These are the Truths God laid on my heart this time last year and I know I’m going to need them again this year…
— I am God’s girl (John 1:12)
–My weaknesses = His Strength ( 2 Cor. 12:9)
–His loving kindness is new each day (Lam. 3:22,23)
–His Word provides endurance, encouragement and eternal hope for me (Rom. 15:4)
SO, here we are… SLIPPERS, SET, GO!
Counting on with Ann…
113. settling in at home again
114. dry, cool Northern Nevada air
115. our annual family fish fry
116. sister-in-law who never fails to encourage me
117. the beautiful young woman my sweet niece has become
118. Lake Tahoe
119. Galatians 6:2 friends
121. celebrating husbands 40th birthday
122. the lone eagle grille
123. Kelli… I know, she’s been on here before… but she’s SO worth repeating!
124. our new, cute space on the web
125. great finds on craigslist
126. eager children in their new slippers
127. challenges that remind me He is my strength
I love a good play.
Not the kind your children do in the backyard, but the kind with heroines, white horses, and sword fights. The kind with over-sized velvety-like curtains that draw back as an unsuspecting crowd holds its breath with anticipation.
It’s a place where imagination interrupts reality for a couple of hours. A place that houses a stage that seems to explode with dramatic plots, knee-jerking themes, and whimsical characters.
Only at night as I sleep, those kinds of fairytale scenarios aren’t what play out on the center stage of my mind.
I try so hard during the day to be an over-comer. One who covers her ears as she protects herself from whispers of insecurities and thunderous claps of not-good-enoughs.
Oh yes, I thought I’d go there today.
But at night…
I lay may shield of faith by the bed. I place my sword on the nightstand. I leave my belt of Truth on the floor (see Eph. 6:15-18). And the adversary drills potholes into my fairytale dreams over night, a time when I’m most vulnerable. He fills them with images of mistakes I’ve made, condemnation I’ve tucked away, fears I haven’t overcome. They twirl around on the center stage of my mind. They seem so real. They penetrate my heart.
In case you were wondering, this happened just last night.
I woke up. My mind erupted with themes Satan showcased overnight. Trust issues. Self-esteem challenges.
Does this happen to you?
I must admit, this night I handled things differently. I recited Colossians 3:11 over and over, “Christ is all that matters.” My past doesn’t matter. My life realities don’t matter. My “I’m-nobody-special” thoughts don’t matter.
What does matter is Christ and his Calvary love for me.
A love that doesn’t have trust issues.
A love that doesn’t get snagged in the seams of my mistakes.
A love that shields the pain.
So my sweet friends, if you to struggle with insecurity clanking and tinkering around in your dreams at night, start small. When you wake up, recite a verse, pick up that sword that’s on the nightstand. Allow God to chain that ugly right up to the bedpost and set you free.
Let’s make a pact. Let’s be determined to allow the message of Christ fill our hearts and nothing else.
Well y’all, this happened to me last week.
In the midst of million-mile-a-minute days, I realized I stopped positioning myself for miracles. Those miracle-like moments you can’t explain. Moments that refuse to give fear the last word. Moments that seem to change everything. Moments that don’t just help us survive the world, but moments that help us change the world.
Subconsciously, I quit relying on God’s outcome. I began pursuing only that which I could manipulate and control. I made short-cut decisions based upon my human limitations rather than tapping into the limitless power of God.
The questions that began tinkering around in my mind were these,
Am I choosing comfort over call?
Am I playing it safe rather than living by faith?
Am I in fact, normalizing myself?”
I felt God speak directly to my heart, “You will never have the miracle moments I intend for you if you don’t take a running leap out of your comfort zone. If you don’t wade into the water and trust me, you’ll miss out on all the action. Get in over your head, grab onto me like crazy, and have faith that I will lift you up high above your fears.”
Have you ever noticed, God usually doesn’t do the lifting until the wave is about to wash over us? But that’s where faith exists. That’s where lavish abandon breathes.
So from now on my plumbline will be this.
I don’t want to be involved in anything that isn’t over my head. I don’t want to do anything that I can accomplish on my own. I want to walk the waters of the impossible. The impossible is only experienced through Christ.
This is an old lesson for me. One I used to know. One that maybe I filed away and forgot about. Maybe God wants you to know today that he has a miracle moment in store for you. Maybe he wants you to know he will turn your prayers of today into possibility for tomorrow.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him,” Philippians 2:13.
As a mama of three girls, we love to shop. But lately it’s difficult taking them with me. All I hear are my three year olds whiny pleas echoing through the aisles of Target, “Mom, will ‘yeer’ buy this necklace fur me ‘peas’?” If I don’t comply I know what comes next… an embarrassing kick-your-feet kind of fit from the store to the car. Sometimes, it’s hard to deny yourself and/or your children the joy that would come from that purchase.
Several years ago, I read an article about tracking and categorizing your spending. I decided to track the past six months of spending.
Let me tell y’all, it was ugly.
I hated doing it.
All my department store mistakes scribbled down on college rule paper. However, I was amazed at how much money I spent frivolously. A Starbucks here, a super cute shirt there, and before you know it it’s all about me.
This is a filter system I ran to when I felt weak in my spending.
“Show Me the Money.”
SHOW: Have I been tempted by an advertising ploy?
~Remember: Don’t make unplanned purchases.
ME: Is this purchase all about me?
~Remember: My money isn’t mine. God gave me the ability to make money. If we see our money as God’s, we will spend it in a way that pleases him.
THE: Why am I buying this?
~Remember: Is this purchase going to glorify God, provide for my family, or serve others?
MONEY: Do I have the money for this?
~Remember: This rule has been so hard for me through the years. It’s something my mama always taught me, “When there is no money, there is no shopping.”
Lord, everything I have is yours. Please help me to glorify you with each entry in my checkbook register! Amen.
I wanted to let everyone know Heidi and I have been hard at work on a new website for Mothers On Mission Ministries. We will launch next week. So please forgive me for not being able to post and comment this week! This computer stuff is overwhelming for me!
I did want to leave one thought for today though. One thought that has been tinkering around in my mind.
Question: Am I a customer or a co-worker?
In a sermon I heard, a customer is defined as someone who church shops. A person who looks for what a church can give them rather than what they can offer their church. They are more concerned with etertainment than spreading the Gospel.
A co-worker is defined as someone who spends their week telling people about Jesus. Someone who is available to Jesus-at all times. Someone who constantly looks for their burning bush moment.
As believers, we bond over coffee, we bond over golf, we bond over gatherings, but do we bond over Jesus?