Love

His Masterpiece

The other day I received a text message from one of my best friends. Her oldest graduated from high school and over the summer will be getting ready to move to Chattanooga where her daughter will attend college. I texted her back how excited I was, but I knew deep down she was sad to see her go. Then my cell phone rang.

No more texting. We needed our voices. We cried together and I made her promise that she would walk this very same road with me too, very soon.

It’s moments like these that you remember everything is for a season.

Continue reading at Perspectives: The Mom Experience - His Masterpiece

What God Asks Of Us

It’s morning and as usual I grab my cup of coffee, sit down at our dining room table and begin to read the devotion for the day. I like routine. I look at my collection of Oswald Chambers, Smith Wigglesworth, and Rick Renner, and ask myself, “I wonder which one will inspire me today.

Love God
Today, it’s Smith Wigglesworth.  It’s titled – To Be like Jesus.

I reread the title again, to…be…like…Jesus.

A thought rushes my mind of how difficult this is becoming in the world today. I think about my kids, who are all teenagers, and wonder what life will look like for them not in 20 years, but just in 5 short years.  Life changes quickly and somehow as mothers we feel we have to complete the manual of parenting before the timer goes off.

Wait. There’s a parent manual?

I dig into the devotion for the day and read Wigglesworth’s words:

“In Christ, we have encountered divine resurrection touches. In the greatest work God ever did on the face of the earth.”

I pause and think about those words “greatest work” and “ever did”.  I think about what would life look like during that time having to make a choice to follow a Savior down the Via Dolorosa or would He write words in the sand as I hold a stone in my hand.

Jesus died and rose again for you and for me. Despite how ugly things look around us, we must continue to rejoice in the greatest work He ever did.

I continue reading:

“Christ was raised from the dead by the operation of the power of God. As the resurrection of Christ operates in our hearts, it will dethrone wrong things and will build right things”.

Did you catch that?

We can wonder what our world is becoming, why our kids seem to fall into temptation, or why we feel like giving up in life. It’s not until we get a hold of Christ and exchange what the New Living Translation says, a stubborn heart to a responsive heart.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – Ezekiel 36:26

It’s a heart issue. Until the heart is right, wrong decisions that go against His Word and Resurrection, is what we will have to endure as long as we live in this world.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:9

He continues:

“Callousness will have to change; hardness will have to disappear; all evil thoughts will have to go. In the place of these will be lowliness of mind”.

When I exchanged my heart almost 35 years ago, I exchanged it for my sin.  Now don’t think in all those 35 years I never had to make another exchange.  Oh, no, this girl has a story.  The key was the final exchange. The moment when I said no to sin and yes to God.  When I did that I exchanged it for a place of lowliness of mind.

What’s lowliness of mind?

It’s a humbleness.  A humility of mind.  Not one that acts as a slave or is miserable because it stays quite amidst the sinful surroundings. To be humble does not mean that one has no abilities or achievements. It’s what the Bible says leads to honor.

The result of humility and the fear of Jehovah is riches and glory and life.” - Proverbs 22:4

Do I like where the world is going? No.

Do I like when the enemy wants to come and tempt my kids? No.

Do I like seeing people still live in their past continuing to make mistake after mistake? No.

But, I still love.  I just hate the sin.  I hate when we give room for an enemy to steal, kill, and destroy.

I don’t know, is there something wrong when we actually do what the Word says and love one another? (John 13:34)

I think about the women that have come to me in private and have told me horrendous life situations that have happened to them.  How they walk into a church and feel as though they are looked down upon. Feel like they are not good enough, not worthy enough of forgiveness.  Shame on us.

When we can’t be thankful for them taking the first step and praying that they would allow God to move into their heart condition, something is wrong.

When did we decide to play God and stop being love instead?

That’s all God asked of us – to love one another.

When we submit to love, we become useful to one another. And when we come to a place where we serve for pure love’s sake, we find the Master upon us and find out that we will never fail. Love never fails when it is appointed in us.

[clickToTweet tweet="Human love fails, but God’s love never fails." quote="Human love fails, but God’s love never fails."]

I challenge you to be lowly, be humble.

Be love instead.

You never know who God may bring your way to show love to.

Maybe we should add that to the parent manual.

When We Fight The Same Battles Over

chains
Have you ever taken a personality test. You know, the one’s that tell you who you really are between the lines. I’m an INFJ.

I don’t like that last letter.

Every new year, I take one just to see some things about me clearly. Here are my scores:

Introvert – 44% Intuitive – 25% Feeling – 12% Judging – 44%

When I was in Corporate America, I would have all new and returning employees take the Myers-Briggs or the Jung test every new year. This helped me as a manager understand who they were as individuals and what they needed from me so they didn’t feel as employees, but part of a team, a family.

See that Judging number, I hate it. {Trust me, by no means does this give me the right to judge neither, it does, though, help me to understand my strengths and weaknesses.}

I wish it was lower or that I was more of a perceiver than a judge. My husband is 60% perceiver and the longer we are married the more I ask him how to handle things or what he thinks about a person or a situation. He’s the discerner in the house.

I can definitely say God knew what He was doing when He put us together.

Maybe you’re like me - I’m praying for more compassion for others.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12

No, I need more compassion for others.

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life.Those who are activists - INFJs gravitate toward such a role - are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power. - Myers- Briggs

For so many years, I’ve seen our altars filled with people that have asked Jesus in their heart for the very first time. Man, it’s awesome to see God move-in.

When they genuinely ask God to dwell in their heart, you can begin to see a change in them.

A passion - a fire has set in.

They are hungry for the Word. They want to soak in every message, every sermon, every Bible Study, and when the church doors are open, they are there.

Yet, I find myself struggling with compassion for those that go to the altar five, ten times.

It is hard for me. I am ashamed to admit that.

It is hard for me to see Christians wallow in guilt and past hurts, especially here in America when we have so much more than others.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. – John 8:36

I want to grab them by the arms and look at their eyes and ask them - Do you not know the God that you serve?

Do you not know who lives inside of you and the power that you have because of Him?

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them, because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4 (Amplified)

That you can fight any battle the enemy brings. You can fight any burden or circumstance that is thrown your way. Don’t turn to the left or to the right, keep your eyes focused on Him.

I weep for them and yet, I find me righteous in myself. I judge because the God that you and I serve is greater than our circumstance.

I don’t like myself for that.

So I ask God why?

God, why do I feel this way?

Why, God, do I see these things this way?

Then, asking a friend, she gently reminds me to ask myself – “Are you writing this with righteous anger only needing to get over yourself or is God breaking your heart because He does want more for His people.”

Lord, break me, I need Your compassion.

I struggle because I think about the great things we can do for the kingdom together because we are greater and mightier. How there would be more of us walking in confidence in the fight to win souls because we are no longer dwelling in our past hurts or sins.

Listen, I am far from perfect. No where near it.

But we have been bought with a price that was paid for you and was paid for me. We were set free a long time ago from a Man that died and shed blood for our sins, our salvation.

Who are we to lower that price, that cost, that Jesus paid for us by continually going to the altar. By continually dealing with bitterness and shame.

God is greater than that.

He deserves better than that.

I am always awed by His patience with our unappreciative attitudes of spiritual entitlement yet baffled, especially when we, like the Israelites, have already been the beneficiaries of His never-ending love and generosity. - Anonymous, Alicia Britt Chole

One thing we must be confident in - is knowing the same battles we fight today need not be the same battles we have been set free from. [clickToTweet tweet="The Same Battles We Fight Today Need Not Be The Same Battles We Have Been Set Free From" quote="The Same Battles We Fight Today Need Not Be The Same Battles We Have Been Set Free From"]

It’s not rinse and repeat, it’s rinse and walk free.

Instead, what these words did...was chip away at my own imperfections.

Teaching me that there is no one perfect, but only Loved.

4 Ways We Can Show Respect to Our Husbands

Last week I had an eye-opening conversation with the Hubster. We were discussing the business and, like always, what’s coming in and what’s going out for the week. For a moment, I want to invite you in our home.

Discussing bills, and for us it’s personal and business, is not fun. There are weeks when everything is paid for and a little left over and there are some when something unexpected may have come up and we barely had enough to cover. We all have been there.

As wives, we like security; knowing that everything is ok. And just like the need for security or love, husbands need our respect; our trust in them. When I walked away from our “intense fellowship” moment, the Holy Spirit began to show me that – “Jose feels just like I feel when you don’t trust Me. When you have a fear that I will not come through or when you doubt my Word”.

Let’s just say there was a knot in the pit of my stomach.

Now I am no expert on marriage. Read my About page! I love to talk about Jesus, parenting, inspiring women, young and old, friendships or even my love for baking but marriage…I feel like I fail more than anything else in life.

Ephesians 5:22-33 are beautiful verses that not only lay out the design for marriage, but also the powerful relationship between Christ and His church. Our marriages are a living parable everyday to our children. As husbands represent Christ and wives represent the church, we begin to show our children what God is like in a more visible way through our marriages.

And for some, that is a hard pill to swallow.

4 Ways We Can Show Respect to Our Husbands

Today, I want to give you 4 ways we can show respect to our husbands. Remember, I am not expert, but simply my hope is that we look at the value of our words and attitudes towards our husbands and how they can either lift them up or tear them apart.

Try one.

Try two.

Just try.

With His Work

For the most part our husbands go to work Monday through Friday, sometimes on the weekends or nights. It is a part of who they are. That is why most men start a conversation with “what do you do?” I think a lot of wives lose out on conversations they can make with their spouses because they want to separate him from his work – and yet, that work is the “what” he does most of the day. There are some of you that your husband’s rather not talk shop when he gets home, and we need to respect that.

  • Let him know how much you appreciate the work that he does.
  • Learn something about what he does because there will be times he needs you to understand.
  • Just like you’d like him to ask you about your day, ask him about his.
  • Support his dreams and passions.
  • Send him thoughtful or encouraging texts while he’s at work. A suggestive one once-in-awhile is always fun too if you know what I mean. *wink*
  • If he’s a coffee drinker, pour him and you a cup while sitting at the kitchen table before he leaves for work.
  • Ask him the best line in Pretty Woman – “How was your day, dear?” Make sure you have a pretty tie on too *wink*

Church

There are many places in the Bible where men are called to be leaders of the home, they’re given jobs to do and roles to fill, but you are probably the most important piece of the puzzle. Why? Because people will be looking to see how he leads his family, how he cares for them, and whether his family respects him. What you show or do not show reflects on him even more in this environment.

  • Encourage him in his gifts and talents.
  • Talk positively about him with your friends.
  • Always check with him before making commitments that include him.
  • If you have a question about something in the sermon, ask him first before going to the Pastor. We need to hold our husbands in high regard first.
  • If your husband doesn’t ordinarily attend, then praise him when he does.
  • Thank him for taking the family to church.
  • When it comes to men’s groups in the church – don’t patronize him to sign up for one.
  • Don’t make fun of his style of worship

Home

In most cases, you are the homemaker of the home. Whether you work or stay at home, you set the tone of it. How clean or messy it is or what colors go on what walls. For the most part we are given free reign. However, he will still want to claim some area as his– the man cave, an office, the garage. There has to be some space that he is allowed to be as unorganized as he wants and that he can call his own. It’s a guy thing.

  • Allow him to have a space that he can call his.
  • Be his wife, he already has a mother.
  • Ask if he has any requests for meals he would like to eat this week. In my case, I ask him is there anything he wants to make this week since he loves to cook, but can’t always have the time.
  • Thank him for the things that he gets accomplished around the house.
  • Watch your words when talking about a feature of the house you do not like – most likely he’s providing for it and he could take it as a complaint on him or his ability to provide for the family.
  • Make your home a sanctuary when he comes home, but don’t stress over being perfect.

In Front of the Kids

Your kids are watching and nowhere are order and respect more important than in front of them. Nowhere is that harder to do then at home. You’re in charge all day. You make decisions, maintain discipline, teach, and be all that your kids need. When your husband arrives home, it can be easy to look at him as another person needing something from you or to look at him as the knight that has come to rescue you so that you can have a moment’s peace and “veg” out.

  • Remember that Pretty Women moment? Yep, do that again!
  • If you have a concern about how he handled something, don’t question him in front of the kids.
  • Get his input on decisions, especially big ones.
  • If you ask his opinion, make sure you follow through – otherwise don’t ask.
  • If he tells the kids something (either they can or can’t do something), don’t change it!
  • Be on the same page when it comes to raising your kids.
  • Teach your kids a healthy fear and respect for their father.
  • Fathers can get the impression that they’re just a wallet– teach gratitude.
  • The tone you use and the way you speak to your husband is the way your children will speak to him also.
  • Make your husband a priority over the kids.
  • Make date night a priority in your marriage.

Your husband is not perfect and neither are we, but if we understand the words in Ephesians 5, the love we have for each other will wipe out all fear, all doubt, all disrespect. Our words will change to praise, honor, thankfulness, and love, because we see Christ in him.

 

How We Can Show Love in 2014

This week will begin our annual Christmas baking and then the kids are out of school for the next two weeks.  I’ve made a list of cookies the girls and I will be baking:

  1.  Snowballs (my favorite)
  2. Sugar Cookies (saving these for the family to decorate)
  3. Snickerdoodles
  4. Peanut Butter Kisses
  5. Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Balls
  6. Christmas Fudge
  7. White Chocolate Fudge

It seems like a lot but with a family of six, neighbors, and friends, I love to spread a little of His Love this time of year.

This will be my last blog post for 2013 as I enjoy some family time.  I want to leave you with these 3 thoughts that have been on my heart as we enter into 2014:

1. Your children are your ministry.

Let me say it again, your children are your ministry.  I have met so many women with young kids (under 13) that wonder what God has put them on this earth to do and sadly, their ministry is right in front of them, their children.  I don’t ever want to be the mom that my daughter is in a friend’s driveway in tears as she is in her twenties having a family of her own wishing that her mom was there for her when she needed her as a child and later on as a teenager.  That even in her twenties she still struggles connecting with her mom. That my daughter continues talking in the driveway to her friend and asks her friend “why is it that people call on my mom for advice? Telling me she’s such an incredible mentor in their lives, but as her daughter I can say I don’t know that women you are talking about.  I really wish I did because she sounds amazing”. (True story)

I had an great friend of mine that is in a season of enjoying her grandbabies and has an incredible ministry that goes all over the world.  We had breakfast a few days ago and I asked her, “do you remember telling me 5-6 years ago that your family, your children are your ministry?” She said, “Yes”. “Remember how I sat across from you and wanted to travel with you and preach the gospel and tell my story to women and you stopped me and told me your kids must be your priority”. I told her that it was the best advice I’ve ever received.

So I tell you the same thing.  You only have your children for such a short time.  When I was raising 4 babies under 2 ½ years old it seemed as though the time wasn’t going fast enough.  That my identity of who I was was lost.  That I was forever going to be changing diapers and wiping snotty noses.  Then they were in elementary and I thought I couldn’t shout from the rooftop “Hallelujah!” loud enough. Freedom.  Elementary turned into Middle School where awkwardness and the hurts of finding true friends.  Now it’s High School and figuring out what colleges they want to go to.  I am so thankful that God has trusted Jose and me to raise these kids to be mighty men and women for Christ.  That we can give our children back to God as they come of age and tell God that our hope is that we put everything in them that you asked of us.  That we used every measure of what you gave us to use as parents.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. – Romans 12:3

love

I can’t imagine now that if I followed my own ambitions, my own thought of what I thought God was calling me to do, that I would have so much “measure” left over; love, patience, faith, hope.

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

 2. Success is not a bad thing

John Bevere in his book Relentless says, “God desires to call you great in His sight (Luke 1:15). He is for you and no one wants your success in life more than God Himself.” Let me add that He wants the one He put in you, not the one you create for yourself.

The Bible says He is the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).  He knows your end from your beginning (Isaiah 46:10).  Then my question is why are we trying to change our success story?  We dabble in this and dabble in that trying to find our way.

Changing courses; changing directions.

forest

When all along if we would just have surrendered our success to God it would have been so much easier (speaking from experience).  When I find myself wandering in the wilderness, not sure of what direction to go, I find my head wrestling with my heart. {Tweet This}  In those moments is when I lay my wants and desires before Him leaving them with my words changed to only wanting those desires and wants He has for me (1 Peter 5:7).  Success isn’t a bad thing, but it must be the one He intended us to have.

3. Write for the one

In 2014, I encourage those of you that are bloggers, writers, and speakers to not just look at your platform as a mass multiplication of numbers, but to begin speaking life into the one.  When you write, write as though you are writing to the woman sitting on the other side of the screen asking God “where are you”? When you speak, speak as though you are speaking to the one anxiously waiting to go back to the hotel room where she can taste the alcohol that washes all her hurts and sorrows away.

In 2014, let’s begin speaking to the Ones.

The ones that are on a brink of divorce and become another statistic of a failed marriage.

The ones that are sitting in a closet crying in fear, screaming at God, please Lord, don’t let him do this to me again.

The ones that have had their innocence taken as a child and have lost trust in those that are supposed to protect her yet longs to be loved.

harvest

I challenge you to begin speaking life.  Show more of God in your writing.  Speak words that pierce the heart of those in the room.  Tell the world how great God is through your stories.  Show God’s Love in it all.  Love is War and showing it is a battle we must be willing to fight.  Are you ready?

"Love Is War" – Hillsong United

In Your justice and Your mercy

Heaven walked the broken road

Here to fight this sinner's battle

Here to make my fall Your own

 

Turn my eyes to see Your face

As all my fears surrender

Hold my heart within this grace

Where burden turns to wonder

 

I will fight to follow

I will fight for love

Throw my life forever

To the triumph of the Son

 

Let Your love be my companion

In the war against my pride

Long to break all vain obsession

Till You're all that I desire

 

Turn my eyes to see Your face

As all my fears surrender

Hold my heart within this grace

Where burden turns to wonder

 

I will fight to follow

I will fight for love

Throw my life forever

To the triumph of the Son

 

And I know Your love has won it all

You took the fall

To embrace my sorrows

I know You took the fight

You came and died but the grave was borrowed

I know You stood again

So I can stand with a life to follow

In the light of Your name

 

Turn my eyes to see Your face

As all my fears surrender

Hold my heart within this grace

Where burden turns to wonder

 

I will fight to follow

I will fight for love

Throw my life forever

To the triumph of the Son

 

And I know Your love has won it all

You took the fall

To embrace my sorrows

I know You took the fight

You came and died but the grave was borrowed

I know You stood again

So I can stand with a life to follow

In the light of Your name

Whose the Passenger in Your Car?

You DO in the overflow; you are STILL as you fill up. – Pastor Maury Davis, Cornerstone Church Nashville These words spoke so clear to me this weekend that I wanted to speak them to you as you start a new week.

How many of us are so busy every week that each day only brings a longer to-do list that we can’t seem to catch up from yesterday? Are we constantly going, going, and going, that we seem to not know if we are coming or going?

God did not create us for busyness; he created us for relationship with Him. He created us for our own good not his. God lacks nothing but rather has everything to give. It was and is the most loving choice that could be made to create mankind in order that He may share with us His perfect love. And, in our busyness, I’m afraid we miss that sometimes.

We are constantly doing. This week focus on being still so that your spiritual-tank can fill up. Set time aside each day this week to just sit still. Sit still and in the quietness let God speak to your spirit.

I loved what a friend of mine had said, “Talk to Him in the car as if he was a passenger driving with you.” It’s that simple. God is so in love with us that He wants all of us. Every day He wants our time, our attention, our devotion and our fellowship so that He can fill us up with His love. And as we are filled up we can begin to DO in the overflow.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19