Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

It hits you, stopping you in mid thought as you allow the smile to come across your face. The moment takes you by surprise as you realize just how thankful you are. The feeling usually hits you the most random of times: Driving in the car, coming back from a girl’s weekend. Sitting on the couch watching old reruns of “Friends.”. Or simply at the table on a Sunday afternoon, eating lunch, surrounded by laughter, inappropriate humor and the knowledge that this is how it’s supposed to be. We take those moments for granted. those moments when we realize how blessed we are to have people surrounding us that genuinely make our lives sweet.

I am a big advocate of the simple things. The single post-it note on the mirror in the morning reminding someone the day is new. The simple coffee cup on the front porch mixed with conversation that colored our day. Or simply a note letting them know that they are being thought of. It’s the simple things that cultivate these precious relationships. They bring encouragement, enlightenment and acknowledgement of the gratitude for the people around us.

Encouragement is powerful. A pat on the back can change someone’s perspective. A simple “thank you” can make someone stand a little bit taller. To simply allow someone to know just how much they mean to you—that changes everything. You don't need to spend your life savings or days planning an extravagant flash mob that goes viral. All you need is to be aware.

It’s simple really. It’s not complicated or intricate. It’s being transparent, taking your outlook off of you. Recognizing that you have a fantastic life not because of material gain, but due to the precious souls that make you belly laugh.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Christian Life Support

Jesus didn't have a Church. Jesus didn't have an organization. He wasn't hooked up to life support, with some organization providing a pamphlet telling him how to do ministry. He had his community of disciples and He lived His life with the command God had given Him.

My community is weird. When I say weird I mean the majority of us are involved heavily in what the Christian world has deemed “ministry.” They are parts of amazing organizations that are being drenched in blessing and the fruit is abundant. But what I have been hit with lately is a question that seems to transcend some of our deeds.

What would happen if all the churches, organizations, names and leader meetings disappeared? Would I still do what I do?

I was met with that challenge not too long ago. I realized I was at a place in my life where I wasn't attached to an IV of steadily streamed Christendom. I was no longer in the bubble of Bible College, working at the church or involved in full time “ministry.” If I didn't feel like going to church one morning, I didn't. If I wanted to drop my Jesus life all together, join the world and disappear, I could. There was no obligation, no meetings, no title holding me accountable. I had never felt so free yet so lost in my entire life.

The humility came when I realized how much I clung to my associations. So much pride was laced in my title or where I was on staff. But the beauty of fruit comes when the seeds are sown in purity. When there isn't association or a brand attached to what you’re doing. Nothing more than Jesus Himself.

When all the churches, organizations, names and leader meetings disappeared I was left with the simple realization that it was me and Jesus. No other person or group— nothing else. I was left with the life He had placed me in and what I was commanded to do: Love Him. Love Folks.

I had to realize that my ministry, our ministry, is not based on our association. It helps to have that support, to have that team. After all, Jesus had his disciples. Yet it’s knowing that I can do for one what I wish to do for everyone.

Inspired by 1 Corinthians 3

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jesus didnt have a Twitter

I had an epiphany the other day. It might seem petty or slightly dumb, but it was a light bulb nonetheless.

Jesus didn’t have a Twitter account.
The apostles didn’t have a blog.
And when the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho, they weren’t posting pictures on Instagram.

Sometimes we, (okay, I) get caught up in the hoopla. The hoopla of other people's approval, the need to know that what you’re doing or saying is good enough. That you are good enough and people are listening.

About a month ago I spoke at a women's conference down south. It was a big deal for me. I had prayed, cried and studied my heart out to prepare. I was nervous, and the night before I drove down there I was scheming how I could get out of it. Fake a migraine, head injury, cancer. I was scared but I knew I had to do it. My prayer the whole time was that I would be so passionate, so convicted by what God had shown me, that I wouldn’t need my notes. I would be so moved to tell what I had learned.  I was excited, but petrified. The racing questions of doubt that never seem to cease were there in force. What do I have to say that is so dadgum important? Why do they want to listen to me? I am 24, never married (or dated, for that matter), I don't have kids and, quite frankly, have never been through much of a traumatic experience. So why am I here, microphone tapped to my cheek, about to go in front of 150 plus women, the majority of them years wiser than me, and tell them I know something they don’t.

Then I stepped up, opened my mouth and didn't need my notes. Why? Cause I am not Jesus but He is in me.

All of those questions of self doubt could be answered with one simple truth that would have to be said over and over and over and over.

It’s not you.

After that weekend, I was feeling fantastic. I loved every second of it. It felt natural, comfortable and, dare I say, I think I did a good job.  I was feeling confident that God had answered my prayers and wanted honest feedback. My mom was in the audience and videotaped a snippet or two of one of my sessions, so I sent the videos to a few people that I trusted. People whose opinion I value and I knew would be honest. I wanted feedback: was this where God had gifted me?

A few weeks before the conference I had submitted an article to an organization called The Good Women Project. It was on a whim and I had forgotten I even sent it to them. But late one night as I was trying to go to sleep, I got an email informing me they thought it was "fabulous. We are publishing it tomorrow!" I was giddy. I did the whole kicking and squealing girly thing. I texted people who I knew would be awake and would share my excitement. The next few days were a cluster of Tweets, Facebook likes, comments and positive feedback. I was getting random twitter followers and my personal blog (the one you are reading) was getting up to 200 hits per day. I even got an inquiry about helping with a book!

I felt like I was on a roll and God was finally saying "it’s your turn."

Today, the hoopla has died. Those videos I sent to the people that I wanted honest feedback from? Not one of them responded to me. The article is now a few weeks old and therefore old news. My blog is back to roughly 20 views and that person who wanted my help on their book never got back to me.

It’s days like today that I question what I am doing. Why do I write? No one reads it. Why did I get to experience the feeling of "this is where I belong" only to have it die down?

The questions of doubt resurface daily as I look ay myself and think, "What do I have to say, anyhow?"

Then I remember:
Jesus didn’t have a Twitter account.
The apostles didn’t have a blog.
And when the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho, they weren’t posting pictures on Instagram.

They didn't know how many "likes," re-tweets or comments they piled up.  They loved God, therefore they loved people and therefore God's name was being glorified. Do I write for people to read it? Do I desire to speak so people can hear me? No. I write no matter what, published on here or not. I speak even if no one is listening (believe me, I'm a talker). The fact of the matter is, the Holy Spirit is not dead and He uses a variety of vessels to speak to us and, when we are that vessel, He speaks through us. I listen to other people, I read dozens of blogs and what other people are sharing  when God has shown them something. I am no different.

We love Jesus. He speaks to us. So read, write, speak, tweet. You might surprise yourself.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moments of the Unexplained

The noise gets to be too much. You stand there, in the middle of everyone else and you can’t seem to move as you’re paralyzed by the dizziness that seems to be circling around you. Everyone is running yet you can’t seem to simply take a deep breath. There is no guidance, no map, no clues, not even some pieces so you could puzzle them together. No explanation of why, who and what to do next. The hurt, pain and unsettled emotion of slight abandonment is lingering, no matter how many times you force it to leave. Yet the power in the healing that comes from these moments of lost direction cant be explained.  Reminding yourself that all you have is this moment. The moment to get past the nonsense that seems to set a fog over reality. The moment to set aside and relinquish the current season.

People have tried to comfort you with the ideal cliché that “this is just a season.”  You have even heard yourself saying those words. But it’s in these moment of the unexplained that you realize it’s always going to be that season. That season to learn and to truly love.

For you were taught to love by none other than the Author Himself. The urgency overwhelms you as you notice that there is always someone to love, to lead with ambition. To walk in a way that leaves no footprint of your own sole, but of the one who took your hand.  To recognize the potent potential that is left when you lead the quiet life. 

There is a stage for you to conquer; A victory that is already won.

Inspired by 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Take My Hand

“we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, 
but also our own lives” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

It’s official. I am 24 years old and I am a cynic. To a certain degree, it’s my own fault. I get caught up in the discussions, blogs, tweets, books and all the hoopla that surrounds me. Sometimes I think I know too much and long for ignorance.  My mom swears the rock she lives under is cool in the summer and warm in the winter so it is tempting. But I won’t because I have this dream that everyone gathers under one roof and worships Jesus, learns from the Word and loves people. I like to call it church. It’s a dream because, until Jesus is actually here, that will never happen. My dream may be naive, but I will hold on to how it could be.

I find such freedom in keeping it simple. To read your Bible, love others and be transparent. The honesty that comes with that brings respect and integrity. To get back to the authenticity of the gospel and what it’s called us to do and be. Simply to impart the gospel and our lives into others. That is true discipleship. No need for a title or to be attached to some organization. Just simply share your life.

That is what I’m praying for. I recently realized I often pray for God to supply all my needs. But I know He will do that. So I have been praying for my wants. Maybe that is wrong, I don't know. But that is where I find myself. I am on my knees praying that He answers my wants for this life.

Take my hand. Speak comfort in my ear as I am listening to Your historic voice.
Take my hand and reveal Your glory.
Take my hand and I’ll return to you.
Your voice is unmistakable as I am overtaken by the need to move closer in.

Friday, June 8, 2012

White Noise

Millers Landing. Tallahassee.
I used to think God guides you gently, swinging open the doors and holding them like the gentleman He is. He would make it so evident that it (whatever it may be) is of Him that I couldn't ignore it. I prayed for that kind of confirmation with almost every decision I had to make. I awaited the affirmation that had no question of doubt. I have been in a state of waiting for what seems like a a while, walking through open doors as they come and willing to do anything He pointed towards.  I continued to be open and pray for opportunities. As time passed, the prayers became laced with frustration and I grew anxious. Yet over and over I heard Him ask me to wait. To actively be present in my life, realizing my days were already filled with opportunity.

Yet sometimes—especially recently—God calls us to break down the door. His obedience calls for you to fight. That you try all your resources, get past all your fears, take a step forward without His hand on your back. Being obedient in the pursuit of fighting for what He has for you. To cut through the white noise of what comes at you, and to push through the walls of anticipation.

Actively waiting on Him to guide you, or pushing your way through, it comes down to obedience. Am I diligently seeking, being open and willing? The reminder that blessing comes from flexibility—for when we are willing to be molded, we are not easily broken. That we can't go off what we feel (for our emotions are fleeting) but go off what we know. What do we know? God is God and we are not and He will never leave us. I get caught up in the present and think that I have to figure it all out. I end up causing more harm than good (even if its just confined to my own brain.) The first step of being obedient is getting your butt off the couch even if that means just to get on your knees. So often our prayers are consumed with our own needs and wants. Yet how often did Jesus pray for others? Odds are your prayers wont, and shouldn’t be about you.  There is such humility found in physically getting on your knees, allowing the power of intercessory prayer to be used through you. Stand in the gap. We are called to fight for those around us, to fight for what our heart desires. 

Be open to where ever He might take you. Cut through the noise.