Did I miss it?

Those calendar pages turn quickly. It seems like just a few minutes ago we were watching the ball drop in New York City and now – we’re almost at the end of the third month of the year!

So, what happened to that list of resolutions? We started 2018 with a plan to improve, to finally make a change, to break a bad habit or create a new great one – and then – we didn’t follow through. Our plans for self-improvement were interrupted by our ever-growing “to do” list and perhaps it was easier to go with the flow than to attempt a new way of doing things. Life happens. According to a survey conducted by the University of Scranton, only about 8% of people follow through on their initial goals for the New Year. So, does that mean we’ve missed the opportunity to make a change in 2018?

Not. At. All.

Timing is everything. We can take our cues from nature (each season offers new beginnings and opportunities) or from the calendar (each day has a beginning and an end.) In either case we’re encouraged by the fact that opportunities for new beginnings happen continually. It’s not an all or nothing endeavor. When you’re ready, you can start again.

So – did you mysteriously forget how to get to the gym? Did some adorable Girl Scout overwhelm you with those cookies? (I’ll take Do-si-dos by the case, please and thank you.) What about the promise you made yourself to pay off that credit card debt? I could go on but you get the idea, right? 🙂

Here’s the good news: you haven’t missed a thing. You can start right now – today – to create a new beginning.

The enemy of shame…

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about shame lately. (Wow. I’m sure that first sentence really makes you want to keep reading…) It’s not a very popular subject, is it? Usually, the source of our shame is an extremely painful situation for us and – obviously – not something we want to discuss openly.

…and THAT’S how it gets us.

The power of shame is in its vehement need for secrecy. Exposure the the LIGHT of life is shame’s worst nightmare – but its not too worried about that possibility. It knows we can’t imagine sharing our deepest regrets, fears, sins, with another soul. Surely no one else has experienced such humiliation or embarrassment, or rejection. If “they” only knew (fill in the blank) there is no way they’d ever see me in a positive light again.

Ahh… there’s that word “light” again.

The hard and wonderful truth, nonetheless, is that healing will only come through shedding light on our shame. When I decided to allow this healing process to begin for me, I chose my first listener because of His track record of never letting me down. NEVER. I can’t say that about another human being, including myself. As a matter of fact, I am my own worst betrayer.

So yeah… I spoke barely above a whisper, ugly-cried like I was watching a “This is Us” marathon, and laid all my secret darkness out before God. The fact that I knew He was completely aware of every detail already did not make this process any less excruciating. The benefit of this safe exposure, however, far outweighs the pain. There is great power in the verbal release of our shame. Saying the words helps us to dispel some of the oppressive hold it has had on us.

Can you even imagine the freedom of not carrying around that ugly baggage of shame? Are you ready to let some of that delicious healing light in? Freedom is available to you right this very minute. God is ready when you are.

Are you making a difference with your life – or playing a patch of grass?

Over the weekend, Jeff and I got to see a live theater performance “The Lion King.” The cast was spectacular and the outrageous effects made me feel like I was actually experiencing scenes from the animated movie coming to life!

And then “they” took the stage… On several occasions during the performance, perfectly choreographed dancers took the stage “dressed” as patches of grass.

As I watched those graceful dancers create an incredible illusion of being
somewhere deep in the grasslands, I wondered “When asked about their current career path, do these professionals proudly exclaim that they are part of the Lion King International Musical or do they merely reply “I’m play a patch of grass.”?

Without each one of these dancers the stage would not be magically transformed into the captivating musical that is “The Lion King.”

In the same manner, God chooses to use each one of us to bring about spectacular change and powerful transformation in the lives of His children. It sometimes may feel like the part we play in kingdom business is the equivalent to a patch of grass. What we don’t always realize is that no matter how big or small our part may seem, God is the Author and Finisher of all things. He decided that every part matters.
So… are you playing a patch of grass or providing the necessary backdrop for God’s grace to grow in the hearts of those around you?

“I planted the seed in your heart and Apollo watered it but it was God who made it grow.” 1 Cor. 3:6

What do you value most?

No – wait. I’m not asking what you think you should value or what you’d like to value. (Go ahead… read the question again. I’ll wait. 😎)
The easiest way to figure out where our priorities are is to check two things – your bank statement & your calendar. How we spend our hard-earned money and our limited time speaks volumes of what we value.
A few years ago I caught the “minimalist” vision from Joshua Becker, a well known author & blogger. I’d heard of the concept before but the reason it stuck with me this time is because of how Mr. Becker applied it to his life. He said that as a family with small kids, they were deciding what their version of minimalism would look like for them.

I liked the concept of tailoring this concept of “freedom from owning too much stuff” to me rather than trying to mold myself to a certain pre-made standard. I’ve gotta be meee! 🙃
Now, please don’t imagine my life as bare white walls and one fork per person because that’s never gonna happen, my friend. 😛 We HAVE paired down our possessions considerably and choose a lot more wisely when we shop.
I’ve decided what I value:

– choosing how I spend my time

– making a difference for Jesus

– inspiring others to walk out God’s calling in their lives
How I spend my resources is telling of how I’m choosing to spend my life. It all comes down to our individual bottom line. Please don’t compare your journey to others. Only you know what you value and only you can decide the choices (and sacrifices) you’ll make in order to honor those values.
Keep at it & don’t waiver. It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it. ❤️
“Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:34

God loves butts!

I love bread butts! I’ve been staying at a hotel while on a work assignment and, every time I go to the breakfast area, I find little bread butts that have been cut away and left by other patrons on the bread-cutting board.


My immediate reaction is “YESSS! These are for me!”🎉

I’m not sure whether it’s proper etiquette or simple preference that causes folks to cut off the MOST delicious part of the bread and leave it there but – that concept got me thinking… God loves butts too! 😍
God seeks out the left behind, the discarded, the ones others have given up on, those of us who don’t quite measure up to the standards of others… He welcomes us as HIS and says “YESSS! You’re mine!” 🎉


Feeling like a bread butt – rejected or out of place? Maybe you’re not quite measuring up to the expectation of those around you.


Great news! You’ve always been God’s FIRST choice!

He looks at you and says “Yes! I chose YOU! You’re my FIRST choice, not an afterthought. I have a plan for your life and it’s much more amazing than you could ever imagine!” (Ephesians 3:20 – mercy paraphrase 😍)

Father’s day status: It’s Complicated

Father/daughter relationships aren’t always easy…

I don’t know what it feels like to be “daddy’s little girl.” My relationship with my dad has never been like that.
I thank God, though – for my father. I’m thankful I exist & I know that my relationship with my dad has helped shape me into the person I am today.

Sometimes we hold our parents to impossible standards and when they fail to measure up, we crumble in disillusionment.

Here’s the thing: my dad doesn’t have a perfect daughter, either.

So, most of all, today I celebrate my Heavenly Father who IS perfect AND forgiving – and whose unconditional love changes us daily. ❤

This prayer is the perfect outcry of my heart. I love you, dad – and I want to thank you today because I know you’ve tried your best to love me too. 💗

When there’s dirt in your water pitcher…

When you fill a pitcher with water then pour that liquid into a cup – what are you expecting to drink?
No, it’s not a trick question. 😊

It’s something I ask myself when I’m put in a negative situation and I want to react – well – negatively. 😎

This week I’ve had several opportunities to react in a less than godly fashion. These challenges have given me a chance to pause and notice what my initial reactions have been. (Not pretty) 🙄

They’ve served to remind me my vessel is not filled to overflowing with the right stuff!
Thankfully, they’ve also drawn me closer to Christ as I realize I need MORE of HIM and so much less of me. I want the overflow of my heart to be JESUS so that my words (and reactions) are drenched in God’s love. ❤

How about you, my friend? How’s your week been? What have you been pouring in to yourself? What’s been flowing out?
His mercies are new every morning and His grace is overflowing in us! Let’s draw closer to our Heavenly Father and allow Him to do His work in us! 👑

There IS a battle but it’s not mine…

Recently, something happened to me that hadn’t happened in ages – I was made fun of, ridiculed, and judged because I’m overweight.
I gotta tell you, it caught me by surprise. I’m a whole bunch of years old! I would completely understand if someone doesn’t like me because of a personality trait – too fabulous, maybe? 😎 – but, because of my size?
It’s no less ridiculous than not liking someone because of their race, their accent, or how they dress. There’s no telling how many amazing friendships are missed because someone is letting silliness separate them from fabulous people.


As tempted as I am to dismiss this individual from my life, I’ve chosen to walk out my faith, live out God’s grace, and let the Holy Spirit fight my battles. It’s not easy but it will be worth it.
What about you? What or who is the enemy using to make you feel “less than” this week? Don’t fall into that trap. You’re a child of the King! We haven’t attained perfection but we’re relying on God to see us through and fight for us when we’re too weak to stand.


Let’s pray for each other! God’s grace is sufficient! He loves us madly, deeply, and completely! What more could we ever need? ❤

It’s either Him or me…

I’m really feeling it now…The anxiety that wells up within me when I’m THIS far out of my comfort zone.
What’s rattling my confidence this much? I’m scheduled to speak to a women’s group tonight – in Spanish.
So, what’s the big deal, right?

I speak in front of groups for a living AND as part of my Christian calling. Spanish is technically my first language. Why the freak out, you may be asking. Good question. 😊
Here’s the deal: several months ago I was contracted by a Latin American firm to create training curriculum and train a new hire class for their call center. It was all to be done in Spanish.

I was interviewed (in Spanish) and got the assignment. I successfully created the curriculum and facilitated the new hire class as agreed.

On the day I completed that assignment, the director sat me down and said he had a second training assignment (to conduct leadership training to the executive team) but he could not offer me that opportunity because my command of the Spanish language was not sophisticated enough. He proceeded to explain that he couldn’t risk the embarrassment if I fumbled over words or couldn’t properly express myself.
Basically, I completely allowed his evaluation of me to make me feel “less than” when it came to my Spanish speaking skills.

And then, as God would have it, I was contacted by a fabulous sister in Christ who said I’d been recommended as a speaker and she wanted to book me to speak to their women’s group – in Spanish. 😱
I agreed. The date was set. I prepared my talk. And I waited for God to miraculously deliver me from the overwhelming dread I felt. Still waiting. 😇
I’m choosing to share this NOW (before tonight’s event has taken place) because I want you to experience this with me. We all have anxiety, insecurity, and self doubt. We all wonder if God will actually show up and deliver us from (fill in the blank.)
The awesome point for me is this:

Even if I fall flat on my face tonight, stumbling on every word. Even if I freeze and have to ask the audience how to say “no” in Spanish (you’ll get that in a minute 😎)

GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED because IT’S NOT ABOUT me.
Tonight will be amazing because God has a grace filled message for His girls and His Word will be my words. (Here comes that peace, in Jesus’ name. ✅)
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:10-12

Hanging out in the hallway…

Not long ago I was chatting with a friend, expressing my frustration (whining) about a “perfect” opportunity that fell apart at the last minute.I was explaining how it seemed ideal and just like what I’d been praying for.

She then expertly landed what I lovingly call the Christian one-two punch: “God’s got something better for you. When He closes one door, He opens another.”

My first instinct was to answer with something from my Grumpy Cat repertoire.

 

The only problem with that is… I know she’s right. God’s plan for me is always better than whatever “perfection” I can conjure up. The closing and opening of doors is not only best when left in God’s hands but in His timing.
I’ve tried to pry open some fabulous doors in the past but all that netted me was a snarky attitude and a bad manicure. Not recommended. 🙄
So what do you do when you’re “between opportunities?” When a door has slammed shut but no other knobs are turning in your favor?

Well, THAT I’ve learned, is one of God’s favorite times with us. That’s when He and I get to sit in the hallway of my life and sort through all my nonsense and dig into that character building stuff He loves so much. 😎

Are you hanging out in the hallway right now too? I can tell you from experience this too shall pass. One day soon another door will open and a new season will begin. Don’t miss the RIGHT NOW blessing, though. Hang out with your Savior. Sift, sort, and celebrate the awesome fact that the One who made you is also making a way for you. ❤