Unmerited Badges

Unmerited Badges

I was never a girl scout. I never camped out. I never sold cookies. I never earned a sash full of merit badges.

However, the other day as I pondered God’s grace, His unmerited favor, I realized that in many ways I am trying to be a girl scout right now in my everyday life. And, in some ways, without really realizing it, maybe you are too.

For me, I have always thrived on order and doing my best. Making things “perfect.” I never rebelled as a teenager or any other time. I liked following the rules and receiving the praise that accompanied that choice. That was my identity, and I worked hard to keep it intact. Still to this day, that pretty much sums up how others would describe me because that is what the world sees.

Whether you are a rule-follower like me or not, you could still be an unknowing girl scout. Let me explain.

So many of us, get up each morning and put on a sash without even realizing it. It is a sash of our own making, each one different. As we go about our day, we work and we strive to earn badges to decorate our sashes, hoping those awards will prove to ourselves and to others that we have value. That we are worthy of their attention. These badges come in all shapes and sizes.

Some (like me) might be trying to earn the badge of BEST MOM as you precariously balance PTO, potlucks, car-rider lines, sports practices, bed times and bake sales—all with a smile to make it look as if “it’s no trouble at all.”

Others might be working to earn the BEST WIFE badge by catering to your husband’s every wish out of love and a hope that he will notice and return your love in some way.

Still others are striving to receive the MOST RELIABLE EMPLOYEE badge as you work your tail off day in and day out to gain the admiration and respect of your boss, and maybe a promotion as well. Working to pull yourself up the corporate ladder rung by rung as you aim for the top.

The list of possible badges could go on forever. BEST VOLUNTEER, MOST WITTY, MOST FUN AT PARTIES, PERSON WHO NEVER SAYS NO, MOST CONSISTENT BIBLE READER, MOST CREATIVE, PINTEREST WORTHY HOUSE, BEST PHYSIQUE, MOST ADVENTUROUS and on and on.

You name it. There’s a badge for that.

The thing we all have in common when we try to earn these badges is EXHAUSTION—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or maybe all of the above. These badges we try so hard to earn and place carefully on our homemade sashes are only temporary, no better than stickers really. They NEVER LAST. We constantly feel the burden to do more and better to keep them in a place of prominence, where we and everyone else can see them. These flimsy badges fall off and fade so we must earn them again. It is a vicious cycle that leaves us feeling worn out and defeated.

The good news is we can stop. Right here. Right now.

We can rip off those homemade sashes that cause us so many headaches and heartaches and toss them into a blazing campfire because there is something better. MUCH BETTER. However, it is not found in ourselves. It is only found in JESUS.

Jesus says we can stop working and striving when we whole-heartedly place our trust in Him. In Jesus we can say good-bye to working and striving and instead embrace quietness and rest.

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” (Isaiah 32:17-18)

That. Sounds. Amazing.

This righteousness is Jesus’ perfect righteousness that He gives to us FREELY because of His grace, His unmerited favor. We couldn’t earn it if we tried. He left Heaven and came to Earth to do all that was required. His suffering on the cross, His death and resurrection was enough now and for all eternity to earn the only sash each one of us will ever need, and He holds it out to us as a FREE GIFT.

His sash is infinitely better than our own. It is beautiful. It is eternal. It is completely COVERED by the blood of the Lamb and full of badges. Unmerited badges, gifts that we most definitely did not earn. Not a single spot remains empty because it is complete. We do not have to do a single thing to finish it. And, the badges found on His Sash are far better than those we try to earn. They proclaim not what we have done but the glorious riches we have in Christ. REDEMPTION, FORGIVENESS, AMAZING GRACE, MERCY THAT IS NEW EACH MORNING, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, UNENDING JOY, A GLORIOUS INHERITANCE, PROTECTION FROM THE EVIL ONE, UNFAILING TRUTH, ABUNDANT GOODNESS, THE HOPE OF GLORY.

These are only a handful from an infinite list from our infinite God. I believe the longer we wear His sash and choose it as our permanent, everyday accessory, the more gifts we will see it represents. As Beth Moore wrote, “Make us as eager to wear Your righteousness and holiness as You are to wear our sins.” (JESUS: 90 Days with the One and Only)

So, who is ready to trade in their old, worn-out sash for a beautiful, perfect, eternally-unfading one on which the badges say, “Beloved Daughter of the King”? I know I am. Let’s wear them proudly as we gather around the campfire to rest and sing praises to the one who makes it all possible. JESUS.

I hope and pray you will join me.

(And maybe we can munch on a few of those delicious cookies while we are at it.)

Questions to ponder…

What badge(s) am I trying to stick on?

What has Jesus given me that is better?


Lacey

 

Lacey Lett is a wife and stay-at-home mom to two beautiful children. She fills her days running a small business, chasing kids around to various activities, and trying to find time to read and craft. God has given Lacey a heart for prayer and seeing people realize the power of praying to our amazing God.
The Last Shall Be Light

The Last Shall Be Light

Today I am writing to the rejected. To the ones scarred by the words of others. The ones who sit in silence way too often and feel lost in the shuffle. Those who look different from everyone else in the room. To the ones picked last.

I see you.

But even more importantly, God sees you. He understands your pain because he walked in your shoes, rejected by a world that had no valid accusation against him.

Isaiah 53:3 describes Jesus as being “…despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…”

The One sent to redeem the world was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief. He was more than just rejected; he was despised. Oh precious forgotten one, if ever you’ve been understood, it’s by Him. 

I have no doubt that God has big plans for you. Because of the rejection you have so often felt, you are more keenly aware of those who walk down the same lonely path you do. Your eyes are well-trained to see the pain lying just underneath the surface of other people’s eyes. You are able to see those whom no one else seems to. Pay close attention to your ability to observe such things.

The scriptures are full of reminders that God does big things with those rejected by the world, but my new favorite verse out of them all is Psalm 118:22:

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

How’s that for vindication? He was and is the biggest, most important, strongest and most essential element of our lives. The world may have cast him aside, but Jesus pursued and completed his God-given mission anyway. He fearlessly trusted His Father and kept his eyes on Him, changing the lives of everyone willing to look upon his face and accept his offer of eternal friendship. If he had allowed the world’s opinion of him to dictate his actions, his mission would have been squashed, thus rendering all of humanity hopeless forever.

Likewise, it is important for us to remember that the world’s opinion of us bears no weight on our value. We are valuable because God made us with care (Psalm 139:13-14); He chose us (John 15:16); and He calls us Beloved (Col. 3:12).

To reinforce this truth even further, allow me to remind you of Zephaniah 3:17:

“…He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

You. Are. Adored.

You are treasured. You are sought after. Your company is desired. You are valued, beautiful, and seen. You are rejoiced over with songs.

If you have a hard time believing these truths apply to you, ask God to speak straight to your heart and make them real to you. I believe there’s nothing He wants more than for you to understand how vastly He loves you.

The greater we understand His love, the less validation we need from those around us. The less validation we need from others, the more confident we become in being a light. The more of a light we are to the world, the less others have to feel alone.

We, the rejected, can be the brightest beacons of light the world has ever seen if we allow God to heal the dark, unseen, and hurting places in our hearts with His redeeming grace. Through Him, we can love the unloved; we can see the unseen.

 

BraveGirl Martha

IMG_4430

 

Found

Found

There is a phrase in the “Christian verbiage” that I have seen and read many times. A phrase that I myself have even quoted. A phrase that is not a negative term at all. But a phrase that has left me at times wondering what does that even mean? That phrase is “I’m chasing hard after Jesus.”

Now, I understand that some people say this phrase in reference to pursuing and going after the things of God. But for me, sometimes it can feel exhausting, leaving me on a continuous cycle of never being close enough to Jesus. A feeling that I have to “chase” him down in order to find Him…chase Him down to fellowship with Him…chase Him down to know and experience His presence. This phrase has made me feel so distant from my Jesus and honestly…I don’t like it. But let me clarify, I don’t particularly like it because of where I have been in this season with God.

Just a few days ago, I was home trying to have some much needed quiet time. I am a mom of three kiddos, my youngest being a boy who is, lets just say-HIGH ENERGY. Bless him. So quiet time is particularly heavenly and precious to me. I am sure some of you mommas can relate. This particular day they just happen to all be at school. I had high hopes of spending some amazing time in the word and quality time with Jesus.

I have found myself in a very spiritually dry season. There are days that it feels like Jesus is a million miles away. It seems like no matter what I do, no matter what kind of quiet time I have, no matter how much I worship…that I’m not “chasing hard enough after Jesus.” And there it is again…that phrase. I sat on my living room floor trying to get “into” my quiet time. I read my same devotional. I listened to the same worship songs that seem to usher me into His presence. I recited scripture in my head that I absolutely know to be true. And all of a sudden…I lost it. I shut off my music, closed my bible and told the Lord “I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to TRY to make something happen. I don’t want to TRY and manifest something about who you are…I just want You. Please-I just want You.”

I KNOW that the Lord is honored when we pursue Him. He desires us to dig into His word, studying and allowing the word to wash over us-bringing life, healing and a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and who we are in Him. I KNOW that in Psalms it says, “Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” I KNOW that we are to go into the secret place with the Father and commune with Him. I KNOW these things are important…but it felt empty. My worship felt hollow. Getting into the word felt like routine. And that great devotional-it just wasn’t doing it for me. It felt like Jesus was not within my reach. I was “chasing hard after Jesus”-or so I thought…I had chased until I just couldn’t chase anymore.

What I realized in that moment is that I had forgotten one of the most important factors about being a daughter of the King- I am FOUND in Him. You see, if you and I are on a constant chase…that means no one has been found. And while we are absolutely supposed to chase hard after Jesus in the pursuit to be transformed more and more into His image, we first REST knowing that we are FOUND. I was trying to follow all my same routines to get Jesus to meet with me. I felt exhausted, tired, frustrated and honestly ashamed. Has it worked in the past in how I have done my quiet time? You bet. Have I experienced the Presence of Jesus in a very real way when worshipping Him through those songs? Sure I have. Has spending time in the word refreshed my spirit and at times jumped off the page and into my heart? Oh YES! But sometimes… I think it’s ok to abandon it all for a moment. To stop and simply tell Jesus -“I  simply want You. Help me.”  Again, I am not saying we skip all those important aspects of growing in Jesus for a lengthy period of time because you can’t know Jesus without knowing His word, worshipping Him, seeking Him and loving Him. But I believe Jesus wants a fully surrendered heart to Him, a heart that says I want to know you deeper…I long to be in your presence, more than I want to check off my daily Christian duties.

I sat on my floor and I cried. I told the Lord I didn’t want to chase Him anymore. I didn’t want to strive to try and know Him more. I simply want to be with Jesus.

IMG_3034

I immediately thought of  Psalm 139:7

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

And right there in the middle of my living room, tears flowing down my face, I once again remembered…I don’t have to chase Him down or strive to be close to my Creator. He is right there with me, whether I feel it or not. I cannot EVER be away from His spirit. I don’t have to do enough, be enough, worship enough or study enough because ultimately I am FOUND in Him. While I know the importance of being enveloped in the word of God, soaking up the Joy of devotionals that speak volumes and singing the lyrics of powerful worships songs, I believe sometimes God would rather wreck our spiritual check-list, tell us to lay it aside and simply tell us, “Remember…you are FOUND in Me.”

There is a song by Jesus Culture called Your Love is Fierce. There is a particular part in the song that says:

You chase me down, You seek me out. How could I be lost when you have called me FOUND.

You see, thats how I envision this whole chase thing…JESUS is in pursuit of you and Me.  JESUS chases us down, woos us to the Heart of God and declares that WE ARE FOUND and WE ARE HIS!

So I want to ask you today…where are you? Maybe like me, you find yourself chasing hard after Jesus, but on an empty tank of endless routine and obligation. But sweet sister-you can rest-because the chase is over…you have been Found.

Signature_Cheryl-1

cheryl profile pic

Video Testimony-Marriage and Pornography

Video Testimony-Marriage and Pornography

Austin & Hanna courageously share their true story of how bringing our struggles into the light not only opens the door for God to move, it transforms us into a new creation. Watch their courageous testimony of God’s ability to redeem, restore, and create a new path replacing shame with peace, and sorrow with joy. Bravery at its’ finest.

Click the link below to watch…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEb_dxWxCCk

You CAN Sit With Us

You CAN Sit With Us

Have you ever seen those cheeky graphic tees with the phrase “You Can’t Sit With Us” plastered boldly across the chest? Personally, the cute factor of such an isolating phrase is lost on me, but maybe I’m still working through some residual pain of being that middle-school-aged girl who truly was uninvited.

I’m thankful my Savior would never say that to me. In fact, if Jesus had worn graphic tees back in his earth-inhabiting days, I’m sure His would have said, “You CAN sit with us.” And the invitation would have been real and all-inclusive. That’s just how Jesus lived his life; he made a pointed effort to notice the unnoticed and call the unworthy to do big things with their lives.

Romans 5:11 says that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have been made “Friends of God.”

You guys, we’re in. We’re worthy. Not because of anything we can do but because of everything Jesus did. I’m blown away by this title: Friend of God. My natural inclination is to question my place in Jesus’ group, to feel I haven’t earned my spot, or worry Jesus might notice I’ve crept into his circle and decide to cast me out.

But Jesus will never do that to you or me. He’s the best friend we could ever have.

And because we have been eternally accepted by Him, our lives become part of something so much bigger than anything we could ever accomplish on our own:

Romans 5:2:

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of UNDESERVED PRIVILEGE where we now stand, and we CONFIDENTLY and JOYFULLY look forward to sharing God’s glory.”
[emphasis added]

Being a friend of Jesus means so much more than just getting a front-row seat to all the incredible ways Jesus works and touches lives; it means that sometimes we get called onstage to play a significant part. We get to participate right alongside Jesus in getting our hands dirty and changing the world. As members of his crew, we have a purpose, and are delegated unique tasks by Him that only we can accomplish.

There is no one in this world that God can’t use or doesn’t want to use. There is not a person in this world that God doesn’t desire a close friendship with. So if you’re wondering where your place is, go ahead and approach Him with the confidence that you have already been called, and there’s a seat saved for you.

Put yourself back in the cafeteria of middle school. Timid, and clutching your tray, you quickly scan the room for an empty seat near someone who desires your presence. To your surprise, instead of multiple tables scattered across the room, each surrounded by various cliques, there is just one large table. Everyone’s favorite friend is seated at the head, and one empty chair is open next to Him. You make eye contact, and all your anxieties wash away. He smiles with radiant joy at the sight of you and waves you over to the empty chair right next to Him. His friends turn to see whom the object of His excitement is, and upon realizing it’s you, excitedly join Him in welcoming you over.

He stands with sincerity as you approach, looks you in the eye, and says, “You can sit with us. You are wanted here.”

 

BraveGirl Martha

IMG_4430

Betrayal, Courage, and Faithfulness – A Marriage Worth Fighting For

Betrayal, Courage, and Faithfulness – A Marriage Worth Fighting For

BraveGirl Robyn & her husband, Donny, share their AMAZING story of Courage, Bravery, & Faith as they share their powerful testimony of how they were in the process of divorce and God stepped in…turning a hopeless situation into something worth fighting for. It doesn’t get any BRAVER than this!! Thank you Donny and Robyn for sharing your BRAVERY with us! click the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCLNuFzMxj0

 

 

 

 

 

Aching for Approval

Aching for Approval

img_5797I want to be in shape, but I really don’t want to exercise. I want to be a woman with a spotless house, but I really don’t want to clean it. I want to be a great cook, but I hate mimg_5797aking dinner.

Can you relate? So many times we want to be rather than do.

We want to be a perfect mother, rather than simply loving our children. We want be in a happy marriage, rather than intentionally working on it. We want to be friends with everyone, rather than forming lasting friendships. We want to be known as a servant, rather than having a true desire to serve. We want to be a minister, rather than quietly ministering to others right where we are.

Can it be that the desire to be all of these things comes from our desire for approval from other people, rather than God? We want everyone to think we are all of these things, so we just continue to put on a show day after exhausting day.

Meanwhile, we are silently screaming through our holy Facebook posts, staged Instagram photos, and seemingly squeaky-clean images, “Please see me! Please love me! Please think I’m important!” What we don’t realize is that the whole time we’re searching though the crowd for someone to respond, Jesus gently whispers, “I see you. I love you. You are important.”

I remember when I was a kid and I would come home and tell my mom when someone said something mean about me. She would always tell me the opposite and assure me they were wrong, but I remember thinking, “She’s my mom, of course she thinks that.” Instead of believing the loving words of the person who knew me best, I believed the hurtful words of a fellow 12 year old with their own issues and insecurities.

As an adult, I do the same thing. I believe the enemy’s lies about me, rather than the truth given by a loving Father who knows me best. I seek approval from others to affirm the lies are untrue instead of turning to God for my affirmation.

We were not put on this earth to please others. We were not meant to constantly try to prove our worth. We don’t need to be anything other than a loved child of God who desires to pass that love onto others and make Him known. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It might look messy or overly simple or terribly flawed to others, but if we were perfect we wouldn’t need God. And we so desperately need to need Him.

Sometimes our fears shift from not being able to please man to not being able to please God. The good news is…grace. God’s grace does not change based on our works or our sin. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and His grace is sufficient for each and every one of us. We can’t mess up too much to lose His love or do enough to win it. It’s already ours. There is so much freedom in that truth!

On the other hand, does this truth give us the green light to do anything our flesh craves? Of course not.

“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1

A life lived for Jesus is a life that strives to be more like him. We should avoid sin because it can and will lead to destruction in our lives and relationships. However, we are forgiven. We are understood. We are loved without condition.

I want to make a daily choice to look to God and God alone for my recognition, my approval, and my worth. I want to do rather than to be. And when I mess up, I want to breathe in His grace and know that I am loved by Him and that is enough.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18

BraveGirl Robyn

DSC_9876

Sometimes I Can’t

Sometimes I Can’t

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

So many people, Christians and non-Christians are familiar with these words. We decorate our homes, our social media, our keychains and coffee mugs with these words. We use them to inspire us, to keep us motivated when we’re working out, and to encourage people in difficult times.

But, as a long-time Christian, can I admit that sometimes I can’t?
“I. Can’t. Even.”
Maybe you’ve seen those words. It could be in the context of joy, empathy, or dismay. I recently was at a point where I couldn’t do anything. I made a mistake which blew into a much greater mess than I could imagine. (lesson learned: think before you speak and sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all)

And? Due to the emotions stirred up in the fray, there were words spoken about me that cut me to my very core. Words that I couldn’t even process. I was paralyzed.
I couldn’t do all things through Christ. I couldn’t do anything but sit there, stunned at what had been said.
I tried to process the situation a hundred different ways, but still I was grieved, angered, and ashamed. Grieved that I had erred, angered at the responses, and ashamed to have to face people after the fact, not knowing who had heard what I said and who had not and who now viewed me differently and who already knew me and would forgive me quickly.

It took a night with some dear women who know me well, who brought comfort to my hurting heart. Then…a song on the radio that God used to shake me awake even more to the REAL truth. Jesus redeemed me. He already paid for that error, gladly, because He knew my mistakes don’t define me or who He has made me to be! The song was called “My Victory” by David Crowder. I hope these words sink deep into your spirit like they did mine…

You came for criminals
And every pharisee
You came for hypocrites
Even one like me
You carried sin and shame
The guilt of every man
The weight of all I’ve done
Nailed into your hands
Oh, your love bled for me
Oh, your blood in crimson streams
Oh, your death is hells defeat
A cross meant to kill is my victory
Oh, your amazing grace
I’ve seen and tasted it
It’s running through my veins
I can’t escape its’ grip
In you my soul is safe
You cover everything
Oh, your love bled for me
Oh, your blood in crimson streams
Oh, your death is hells defeat
A cross meant to kill is my victory
Behold the lamb of god
Who takes away our sin,
Who takes away our sin
The holy lamb of god
Make us alive again

Perhaps you too have had those times where you feel that you just can’t. Hang on tightly to His word and let Him be your guide. Be encouraged today remembering that He holds you in the palm of His hand, knowing that Jesus has truly paid it ALL. Forgiveness is free and you can walk in that freedom. And Christ can do all things in you through His Power and His Might and His Spirit, if you allow Him.

When my heart was grieved

and my spirit embittered,
 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Join me and let’s rest in the freedom our God offers. Blessings, dear friends!

Signature_Tammy

 

 

Tammy

What I Missed In The Melting Pot

What I Missed In The Melting Pot

I’m a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white woman. I was southern-born and raised, and I currently live in the heart of Bible Belt country. I’m an organ donor, mother, wife, Christian, and an introvert. And there’s a good chance that as you read the previous statements you have begun forming an internal opinion about me.

I, like you, have been labeled by things I cannot change or control, like the region I was born into or the color of my skin. Then there are the labels I chose and I love, like being a mom or trusting in Jesus Christ.

I was an extremely sheltered child. My parents exposed me to plenty of scripture, but my interactions with people from other cultures and ethnicities were limited. When it came time for me to fly the nest and go to college, I was most comfortable with people who looked, talked, and thought like I did. I felt safe with “my kind of people.”

It wasn’t until I was twenty-four years old that my eyes were opened to the treasure it is to know and befriend those from cultures unlike my own. With my husband, I lived on a Caribbean island for two years, followed by another two years spent living on Long Island, New York. I was a newlywed and a young school teacher experiencing life on two islands, both melting pots, that shattered so many preconceived notions I didn’t even know I had formed. So many new things going on in my life at once!

Our roommates and closest friends for those four years influenced me tremendously. The families of the students I taught gave me glimpses into their world and I eagerly soaked it all in. The children and their parents even re-defined the concept of grace to my legalistic mind. God used so many people in those four years to chisel away at my label giving, self-protecting heart, forever impacting my life.

But here’s the thing…while my soul was beginning to be awakened, I still wasn’t fully awake yet.

Not once in those years when I saw her every day did I ask my Muslim roommate what it was like for her growing up. I don’t remember ever sitting across from her and genuinely making an effort to get to know her or her roots better. I didn’t take time to ask my precious students’ families what life was like in Asia or Africa – or even Europe for that matter – before they made the move to New York.

All the affection and interest I had for my new friends never made it past my lips. Although intrigued by the different cultures that surrounded me, I still warmed myself by the fire of self absorption and found shelter and refuge in my own little bubble. My southern comfort zone and my severe insecurities prevented me from looking outside myself for even a few moments to make connections. I wasted opportunity after opportunity to form relationships that went beyond the shallow and superficial small talk.

As I have reflected back on that time, I wish I would have done things differently. I’ve had to ask myself some uncomfortable and REAL questions…

What is most precious to you and God?

Is it rules and legalism or relationships and love?

Has your pride engulfed your ability to be humble?

Do you value tradition or seek truth?

Would you rather argue to be right or listen to gain new perspectives?

Are your words dripping in hostility or bathed in understanding?

Have you sought self-preservation over loving your neighbor?

Who have you written off with a label?

Couldn’t you wrap them up with love by pursuing a sincere interest in their lives instead?

I often ask myself these questions trying to redeem the time I wasted, trying to make right where I missed the mark.

God and people – the two most important things on this planet. It may sound cliche, but I’m going to write it anyway. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

If you’re struggling to understand what exactly that looks like, you can take a look at the greatest example who ever walked the earth: Jesus – God in the flesh. He lived a life of sacrifice, daring to venture into the world of those nobody else even noticed. He spent zero time pushing a political agenda. He never responded out of fear, hatred, or self promotion. He responded with intentional love focused solely on PEOPLE. He did not live unto Himself; instead He lived to die for us. The ultimate servant.

THE. Servant.

Today we are watching people hurt each other with no desire to love them or understand them. From my experience, insult has never been an effective form of persuasion. But Love has. Let’s follow the example given to us from God himself. Let’s SERVE one another and seek to know, understand, and love others…just as Christ loved us. There’s no better way to show people who God is than to live as He lived. That’s the whole point isn’t it?

Will you join me in breaking through those self protecting walls? Let’s open our lives up to be vessels and let God use us to show others who he REALLY is.

Signature_Emily

 

 

bravegirl Emily profile pic

Good Good Father

Good Good Father

Last weekend, my family and I attended an event full of loud music, excitement and intense cheering. My three (almost four) year old was so excited, clapping and cheering as he gazed at all the incredible scenes going on around him, dancing, singing, cheering, shouting, and music that was so loud you could feel the beat shaking the floor beneath you. He LOVED the atmosphere, the intensity, the fun …and then…as if someone snapped a finger hypnotizing him…he crashed. He fell fast asleep, drool and all, as the event continued on in its’ excitement and decibels.

He was sitting in my husband’s lap when he faded into dream land, and praise God that he was, because he’s a BIG boy. My arms could never have sustained my son’s weight when he’s in his deepest sleep. It’s like holding massive amounts of concrete. NO joke!

But here is the beauty of what I want to share with you about that sweet moment. When the event was over, my husband gently got up trying not to wake him from his sleep. As I watched him carry my son from the auditorium all the way out to our car…I instantly saw a glimpse of our Father. The. Father.

The Father who carries us when we are weak and burdened.

The Father who carries us when we are so overwhelmed and cannot take another step.

The Father who carries us when we are beyond fearful of what’s ahead.

The Father who carried the sins of the world so that you and I can be forgiven…Eternally.

imagepng-1

He’s a Good Good Father.
It’s His nature, the very being of who He is.

My son didn’t have a care in the world. He was enjoying deep sleep because he was SECURE in the arms of his daddy. As hard and long as the walk was for my husband, he was determined to carry his son ALL the way. What a beautiful picture of how Jesus looks at His children and says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest.”

He longs to be good to you and carry ALL your burdens ALL the way…if only you will let him. He doesn’t care about the heaviness, the hurt, the uncomfortable or how long it takes. He is a GOOD Father who longs to embrace His son or daughter simply because He LOVES you.
imagepng

He is a Good Good Father…a good daddy…there is no one else like Him. Let him pick you up today, take your burdens and carry you through…All the way. He is waiting to do just that. What burdens are you facing today? Will you let Him carry them…and you?

Signature_Cheryl-1

cheryl profile pic