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

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The God You Know

The God You Know

While reading in my Bible the other day, I stumbled across a verse that struck me. I’m sure I’ve read this verse many times before, but on this particular day, it pierced my heart afresh. It was Judges 2:10:

“Another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. “

Just to give some context – the generation coming of age in Judges 2 follows the generation who lived through the parting of the Red Sea, wandered with Moses in the desert, saw God as a pillar of fire and a cloud, partook in Joshua’s victory at Jericho…in short, a highly unique and privileged generation to have experienced a Holy God in such an intimate way. And yet, this generation failed to pass on to their children and grandchildren all the wonders they had seen.

This up-and-coming generation of God’s people did not learn to appreciate the miracles He performed. They did not know the Lord.

Why didn’t they know?

What communication gap caused the elders in this community to fail to mention their personal experiences with a real God who made His presence fully known? How did an entire generation come of age without hearing these compelling stories of survival and victory? Maybe it’s because the adults in the room were too busy complaining about current circumstances or trying to forge their own path – one without the Father. Perhaps they were so wrapped up in the drudgery of daily life that they just forgot to tell the younger ones in their midst who couldn’t remember or who likely weren’t even born yet all the incredible things God had done for them.

So the younger generation grew up without hearing about God. They did not know Him. They had no reason to follow Him.

In our modern society, we might not experience seas parting or pillars of fire. But in each of our lives, God has been and is continuing to work. As believers, we have all uniquely encountered a REAL Heavenly Father – and we each have a story to tell. Failing to recognize and articulate how He weaves the pieces of our days together is failing to raise up the next generation to love and seek Him for themselves. It’s our responsibility to pass on to our children the story God has written in our own lives. They need to hear of His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love. If they only hear complaints and grumblings…if they see us chasing after other gods besides Him, how could the next generation possibly want to follow Christ?

How are you representing your savior to the youth around you? Are you inspiring them to worship with awe the One who worked miracles in your life, or are you pushing them towards idols of this world with your misrepresentation or avoidance of talking about Him altogether?

Let’s be a generation of believers committed to unabashedly proclaiming our devotion to and worship of the God of the universe. Let there be no room for doubt in the minds and hearts of the ones who will follow after us. Let’s introduce them to the God we know!

May this generation be a living witness to

His majestic mercy,
His glorious grace,
His time-tested truth,
His pervasive power, and
His limitless love.

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Just One Resolution For The Best Year Ever

Just One Resolution For The Best Year Ever

It’s a new year…time for new goals right? New Year’s Resolutions. My husband and I were traveling for the holidays and having our “car-talk-time” – one of my favs because we’re trapped in the car for several hours with no work distractions, no laundry, no dishes, no errands, nothing to do but just sit…and talk. He can’t escape all my questions! 😉 We have the best conversations in these moments.

On this last trip, we talked about all the goals we hope to accomplish in 2017. Lose weight, strengthen our marriage, make some financial changes, finish the remodeling in our house, become fluent in Spanish so that I can hang with his family in conversation, run a 1/2 marathon, write more, read more, dream more…and the list continued. After talking we had too many goals to count and an overwhelming feeling came over me. I thought maybe this is why I didn’t reach my goals last year…maybe it’s because it’s all too overwhelming and I just want to quit.

OR…maybe because they’re MY goals and MY ideas of what will bring me the best year ever. Usually MY ideas lead me into living off my own strength and power, which leaves me burned out and tired. It sparks a question in me and for all of us…What if our new year’s resolutions consisted of JUST ONE RESOLUTION and the resolution isn’t about us, but about Him?

THE ONE RESOLUTION – Give God our First and Best one day at a time…Simply focus on what God might want from us in that ONE DAY…EACH DAY. It’s not a new concept. It’s just rarely done. But I’m already starting to relax just thinking about it. We often get too caught up in our own agendas to do this but I would say it’s the most important thing we could ever do for ourselves.

What if by starting our day and spending time with Him we discover His best for our year…we find direction and guidance? What if out of that time came our purpose? What if doing that each day brought forth more peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, and more discipline? What if as we cultivated our relationship with God first, we became wiser, more secure, and more confident in everything we do because our trust has grown so much in HIS plan?

God’s word tells us those are all results of being led by the spirit.

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” -Galations 5:22.

If those sweet gifts are a result of pursuing God first, then won’t those things help us tremendously in accomplishing our own goals that we had originally planned? Or maybe, just maybe…they’ll help us accomplish the new goals God’s given us that are different and greater than we could have ever planned for ourselves. Either way, just experiencing God’s fruit in and of itself is already a successful year in my book.

When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” -Matthew 22:37

In order to love Him we musk seek Him and get to know Him. He already loves you and me and is there just waiting for us to say yes to Him. In fact, he loved US FIRST!

Will you join me this new year in giving God your first and your best? Just one day at a time. He may do more than you could ever ask or imagine.

“Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” -Ephesians 3:20

I haven’t talked to one person yet who has regretted putting God first in his/her life. But I’ve talked to countless people who have regretted NOT putting God first. It’s a personal relationship with Him that will not only change your year, but it will change you and the world around you.

This is your year to start over, putting Him first in your life. Are you willing to give Him a chance to take the reigns…just one day at a time? Let’s focus together on that ONE RESOLUTION because it’s THE. ONE. that will affect everything else.

Will you join me TODAY in prayer…”Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this new year and all that you will do in my life as I am giving YOU my First and Best, & letting you take care of what’s best for me. Show me YOUR WILL TODAY. My life is yours. Open my ears and my eyes so that I can hear you and see you. Guide me and strengthen me in following your will TODAY. Amen”

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,

and all these things will be given to you as well.”- Matthew 6:33

Wishing you all a fruitful year filled with God’s blessings,

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Brave Girl Christy

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.

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The Giant

The Giant

God’s calling. How many of us have heard it clearly, know exactly what we are being beckoned to do, but still stand paralyzed in the thick, immobilizing quicksand of self-doubt and uncertainty? God’s calling can feel like a giant that we are compelled to and captivated by, yet at the same time, utterly terrified to approach.

If only we had the confidence David had when he approached Goliath. Though small and ill-equipped for victory according to the world’s opinion, David didn’t falter. His feet walked towards the impending battle with confidence. His hands skillfully placed the stone in the sling, and with unfaltering confidence in what God had called him to do, he carried out the task and conquered the giant.

David was small but bold. He was human but empowered by the One True God. An unworthy man was called, and his obedience made all the difference.

He didn’t question his ability to succeed based on his physical stature, vocation, or social status. He didn’t listen to the discouraging voices around him that said he wasn’t good enough for such a battle. Nor did he accept the help of what the world told him he would need in order to have any hope of succeeding. When they said he’d need heavy armor to survive, David chose instead to go only equipped with the talent and skill God had created him to be specifically confident in: his shepherd’s staff and sling.

David was just a shepherd who said yes to God. And because he did, his story was written down in history as one to inspire believers such as ourselves that through God, all things are possible.

What if David had disqualified himself from God’s calling on his life because he was “only a shepherd?”

What are you being called to do that you feel utterly unworthy to carry out?

What child might never experience a loving home if you never listen to that still, small voice calling you to foster or adopt? What co-worker might never hear of the saving love of Jesus if you never accept that job in the field you feel called to even though it won’t pay enough for you to keep living with the same level of materialistic comfort? Who will never know they’re worthy if you never tell them? Who will fall between the cracks of society if you never step out of your comfort zone to reach them?

Time is short and precious, and the stakes are high. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”

The time is now. Step out and go boldly towards God’s calling on your life. Not because you are able, but because He is.

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BraveGirl Martha

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Be Still and Know

Be Still and Know

This weekend I got away with a girlfriend to a cabin on the lake, and it was a refreshing time for my soul. We did some leisurely shopping and ate a lot of yummy, bad-for-us food. It was all wonderful, but my favorite part of the whole trip was the time we spent resting. We threw on sweatshirts and enjoyed a slow morning on the deck, sipping our coffee while nestled under a quilt. We marathon watched HGTV and colored in adult coloring books. We were intentional about not being busy, and we didn’t feel guilty about it.

It got me thinking about the value of resting in the midst of a chaotic, loud, busy world. Jesus created us to work. But he also created us to need rest. Not only does he allow us to rest; he encourages it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

I know a lot of us struggle with the concept of rest because it can sometimes carry with it a certain amount of guilt. We get used to the busy schedules, traffic jams, ringing phones, and – if we are so blessed – noise from a household that is busting at its seams. We are so conditioned to the busyness, we feel like we are wasting time or being lazy if we carve out some time for quiet.

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Can I just remind you that it was God who created the Sabbath? He is Holy and perfect, and he himself rested on the seventh day after creating everything.

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:2)

Resting refuels our soul. It makes us better parents, employees, spouses and friends. It extends a shortened fuse, recharges our enthusiasm, and allows us time to hear God’s voice.

Remember Mary and Martha? Martha thought she was doing right by staying busy in service to God, but Mary was the one who was praised for sitting at his feet. I think God knew we as a people would need lots of reminders that rest is not only okay, but it is very good!

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

God wants more for us than constant motion, service, and completed tasks. He wants us to sit at his feet, hear his voice, and simply be still in his presence. It is a gift he has given to us as his dear children.

When is the last time you sat at His feet and let him refresh your soul? He is ready, waiting and well-equipped to lavish you with love and soothe the unrest that burdens your soul.

Breathe in his goodness. Be still and know.

 

BraveGirl Martha

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Adoption: God’s Will For Your Life

Adoption: God’s Will For Your Life

Adoption has been on my mind lately. I have a few friends who are adopting, and hearing their stories has made a significant impression on me. For weeks I have been mulling over what it means to adopt, and I’ve reached the conclusion that adoption is God’s will for every Christian.

When you think of adoption, you probably imagine actresses bringing home children from third world countries. Maybe, like me, you personally know someone who is adopting or has adopted. A less common viewpoint is the adoption we experience as children of God and how the word “adopt” is a perfect picture of the Gospel in action. This is what I can’t stop thinking about.

According to the dictionary, to adopt is to choose or take as one’s own, to take and rear as one’s own child, to take or receive into any kind of new relationship. Because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, a door was opened that allows any human being to be adopted into His eternal family. He takes us as His own when we put our trust in Him. He calls us His children. He eagerly receives each one of us into a new relationship with Him. In short, adoption is taking those who are without and bringing them in.

The Bible puts it this way:

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:5‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭4:4-7‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

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Adoption is the Gospel lived out. What Christ set in motion with his life, death, burial and resurrection can and should be emulated among His followers. What adoption looks like in your own life depends on a few things…your place, your passions, your possessions, and your perspective.

1. Your place

Where has God located you? You live where you live for a reason. Your job is no accident. Each community, city, state and country is filled with people who are struggling – those who are outsiders to the knowledge of Jesus. The people you see on your daily commute or at the supermarket might desperately need the Light you carry in your soul. They aren’t part of God’s family – yet. There is not a place on this earth untouched by sin and therefore anywhere you happen to do life is going to be filled with people in desperate need of adoption.

2. Your passions

What stirs your heart? When God created you, He made you unique with specific talents, interests, and passions. They are not random. These gifts are an intentional part of who you are and are best displayed as you wrap adoptive arms around someone else who needs you.

Who do you love? Is your heart drawn to children? Perhaps literal adoption or foster care is perfect for you. Do you have a soft spot for the elderly? Think of the difference maker you could be just by listening to their stories or caring for them. Is your heart broken for the homeless? Restore a piece of lost dignity to these downtrodden people by making eye contact, serving a meal, or volunteering at a shelter.

There are countless groups of people who need adopting. Victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence. The physically or mentally disabled. Civilians living in the midst of war and violence. Inner city youth. Single parents. Widows. The neighbor across the street. The list is endless, really. You know where your heart is, and if you don’t, make it a point to find out. Who do you notice and then can’t stop thinking about? Just as God the Father sought you, it’s time to pursue that person or group who tugs at your heartstrings the most.

3. Your possessions

As you read this, you might be thinking to yourself, “This all sounds good, but how much can I help with my limited resources?”

It’s so easy to talk yourself out of making a difference when you believe you don’t have that much to give.

While we can’t all give millions to every cause we believe in, most of us have a few extra dollars on hand. Donate to a local non-profit. Pay for dinner. Buy groceries for a stranger. There are so many tangible ways to make a difference for the Kingdom with your money.

Time is your number one resource. Nothing else you possess will make much of an impact if you can’t or won’t sacrifice some time. Adoption takes time. Relationships take time to grow into something real. Be patient with yourself and the process – in the end it will be worth it!

4. Your perspective

What life experiences have shaped you? Good or bad, what you’ve lived through thus far is often the perfect catalyst to guide you on your adoption journey. Abuse, poverty, even affluence and celebrity can be used for good.

I’m thinking of professional football players who grew up on the streets and who now use their wealth and status to go back to their old neighborhoods and mentor young kids.

I’m thinking of abuse survivors who passionately rescue and support other victims.

I’m thinking of men and women who went to law school or medical school and who use their skills to advocate and care for the least among us.

I’m thinking of women who may seem unremarkable to strangers, but who are actively changing the lives of those around them. The world would not mourn their departure, but to the ones these women have adopted, the void left in their absence would be severe, aching, devastating.

I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking of me. Alone we seem insignificant. But each story, every talent, each heart – they all matter to the Father. They matter to someone out there who needs what only you can offer. The most significant thing about you is what you will do with this whole idea of adoption.

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Everyone who believes, who has a personal relationship with Jesus, is called to adopt. As Christians our life’s work is meant to glorify God, point others to Him, and continue to be molded into His image as our lives progress. I can think of no better way to follow Christ’s example than to adopt someone or some group into your life, and ultimately, into eternal life.

Where has God placed you? Who around you is without? What are you passionate about and how can you use that to bring someone new into the family of God?

Who needs you to adopt them today?

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Dream Big, You

Dream Big, You

When I was a kid, my brother and I would spend hours recording our favorite Disney shows to a blank VHS tape, then hooking a second VCR to the first one and recording what we called “over and over” repetitive clips of our favorite lines from the show.

We would also spend hours choreographing, styling, and filming ourselves lip syncing to our favorite songs. We wrote and filmed our own short films. We. Filmed. Everything.

Even as an adult, I couldn’t stop with the videos. I discovered the Vine app and challenged myself to come up with funny 6-second creations.

God put particular care and detail into each and every one of us. He instilled within us unique interests, passions, and desires. Because of that, we enjoy different hobbies. I believe that the things we are drawn to are not there by accident. Their purpose is for us to be able to find ways to serve Him that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Today, I channel my love for videography by filming and editing videos for my church. By no means do I consider myself a professional, and I still have a lot to learn. But my passion for it fuels my desire to become more knowledgable, and with knowledge comes better material.

This quote greatly inspires me: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

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Why is it so easy for us to tell little ones to dream big, yet we ourselves settle for filling our days with the mundane, required tasks of adulthood?

What do you dream of when you can’t sleep at night? And what holds you back from chasing those dreams?

Do you dream of entertaining but immediately count yourself out because your house doesn’t look like Joanna Gaines’, it’s really small, or you can’t afford expensive dishes? (Preaching to the choir, here…) Make the best of what you have. If your table only seats four, invite three women over once a month for intentional conversation. (IF:Table conversation cards are a great place to start.) Scour thrift stores and yard sales to find mismatched dishes that reflect your style. Pick wildflowers from the side of the road and put them in a mason jar. Then brew some coffee, make a pie (or thaw a frozen Edwards pie–they’re delicious), and invite your friends over.

Maybe you dream of owning your own shop, but you can’t afford the start-up. Create a Facebook page, invite your friends to join, then post cute pictures of your handmade or repurposed items. You might be surprised how quickly word spreads about your creations.

Blog. Write a book. Sign up for that course. Start an exercise group out of your home. Pour into others over coffee. Turn trash into treasure, then sell it. Mentor. Feed the hungry. Take pictures. Adopt. Lead a Bible study. Bake. Build furniture. Train for a long run. Explore.

Do that thing your soul was made to love.

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That passion you have is not there by accident. It is God-given, and you’ll never find yourself in a sweeter spot than when you are living fully in the midst of His plan for you.

Chase after your passions. Dream big, You.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
(Philippians 1:6)

 

BraveGirl Martha

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I’m Praying For You…Kind Of

I’m Praying For You…Kind Of

“I’m praying for you!”

How many times a week do we say this? Send it in a text or email? Use it as a Facebook comment?

Do you ever avoid social media because every time you log on you have to add eight new desperate needs to your mental prayer list? It’s just too overwhelming sometimes. It might be a stranger with a missing child, a family member with a terrible illness, or an anxious friend having a hard day. If you’re like me, we want to pray for people. We know they need it. We sympathize with them. Our hearts break with them. We want to comfort them, so we reach out and use the only words we know to offer in that moment.

“I’m praying for you.

We have great intentions, but then we keep scrolling, get distracted, and by the time we log off, we’ve forgotten what we promised we would pray for.

If you’re like me, you know our friend is in need and we genuinely intend on praying when we hear about her situation, but then life happens. By the time you pack lunches, drive your kids to soccer, fix dinner, and catch up on your DVR, you fall into bed and are asleep before your unwashed hair hits the pillow. The day has gone by and you have just forgotten.

Days later, that request for prayer crosses your mind and you beat yourself up for not following through with that reassuring promise to pray. You text or call to ask your friend how she is doing. Her storm has passed and she thanks you for praying.

Oops.

Thank God for His grace, but seriously, we need to stop throwing these words around carelessly. Please hear my heart here…this post is not to judge, it’s to remind myself and all of us that prayer is powerful. It’s where the battle begins! Let’s be intentional for each other and utilize the power we have access to. Let’s not take it for granted any longer. God has called us to pray and intercede for each other. It’s serious business. He longs to hear our voice calling out to Him. He wants to answer our prayers.

What if we pulled out our smartphones and used our notes to keep track of more than our grocery lists? Or downloaded a prayer journal app or emailed ourselves a reminder? What if we wrote names down and hung them on the bathroom mirror and prayed while we get ready for the day? How about we treat ourselves to a cute new journal and a good pen just for prayer?

We are all busy, but we can find time for prayer. Let’s get up early. Let’s pray during our lunch hour or while our toddlers are taking a nap. Let’s pray in the shower or on the treadmill. Let’s call out names while we fold laundry or during our commute to work. There are pockets of time that we can use to make a difference in someone’s life.

Join me today…let’s start fresh…let’s make “I’m praying for you” a statement less about comforting others and more about intentionally going into battle and activating God’s power.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14

BraveGirl Robyn

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A Benchwarmer’s Take on Life

A Benchwarmer’s Take on Life

Hi. My name is Emily, and I’m a benchwarmer. To be more precise, I’m a spectator. The closest I’ve come to playing any sport was that one semester in sixth grade when my P.E. teacher made me play basketball. Suffice it to say my team did not win the tournament.  I’m pretty sure I faked injury after the first two games and spent the next few days keeping the bleachers company and avoiding the suspicious gaze of the coach. Not an athlete, this one.

So it’s slightly ironic that as I write this I’m watching the Olympics, mesmerized by each sport and the dedicated champions who dominate their field. There’s nothing like the summer Olympics to make one feel slothful, unaccomplished, and just plain mediocre, am I right?! And yet, there’s something so inspirational about seeing a human being use the talent they’ve been given to its fullest potential. That’s what draws me back in every four years.

I find myself similarly stirred when I catch a glimpse of someone I know personally doing what they were created to do. My soul leaps when I witness 1 Peter 4:10-11 in action. I am overwhelmed sometimes with the level of expertise that surrounds me. From amazing mothers to wisdom-filled teachers; creative geniuses to faithful prayer warriors; spirit-filled worship leaders to selfless behind-the-scenes operators. It’s a captivating and beautiful thing when a daughter of the King knows her calling and steps into it skillfully and with true humility.

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My sixth grade self would never have guessed it, but this benchwarmer has also found a spot on God’s team.  I’m still one of the most unathletic people on the planet, but I’m ok with that now.

I’m realizing my own divinely-appointed gifts.

I’m better now than I used to be at claiming and affirming what God has uniquely placed in me.

I’m through with comparisons that leave me enviously wishing my own talent away in exchange for someone else’s.

So here’s my take on life:

The happiest people I know are the ones who have unreservedly stepped into their calling. Christ is most glorified when the abilities He places in each of us are used in service to Him.

Take some time to discover your unique gifts. Find ways to use them – not to bring honor and attention to yourself, but to share God’s message with others. When you notice someone exquisitely shining for Jesus, make sure you give them props – their success does not equal your failure.

Whether you’re an elite Olympian or more of a benchwarmer, there is a place for you on the field of life. Don’t live the life of a spectator when the Father’s desire is to add you to His starting lineup.

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bravegirl Emily profile pic