[revise]

Today is day 24 of the write 31 challenge and I haven’t done a great job at all.  I started out strong in week 1 and floundered after that.  But the very wise Kate Motaung said, “just write.”  So here I am, starting again and revising my outlook on this challenge.  It’s ok to miss a day, or a week, but we get back up and start again.

I like the five-minute Friday challenge because it really is a challenge to just write for five minutes and be satisfied with the words.  I find myself revising my words over and over again to get them just right.  I question whether what I wrote really came out as I intended, or is it just a rambling of words that aren’t connected?  I think I think too much.

So for the rest of the challenge I will just write and fight the urge to revise my thoughts.

[write]

I have so many thoughts in my head and I think about putting them on paper (or a blog), but when I sit down to write out my thoughts, many times I draw a blank, even when I’m only supposed to write for 5 minutes.

I had this grandiose idea that I would start a blog and just write.  It really serves more as a public diary more than anything else, I guess.  I find it hard to “promote” my own words through social media.  It seems like bragging, but it’s probably more about a fear of self-promotion, or worse, no one reading what I write.

After finishing graduate school this summer and writing more than I ever wanted, I learned that I can write.  Now I just have to pray and see what God wants me to write about.

[hold]

I remember holding you for the first time twenty-one years ago today. After 9 months of holding you in my womb, you were finally here. You made me a Mom. I would hold you as you nursed and as I rocked you to sleep.

As you grew into a toddler, you would hold my hand as we walked anywhere. You would never leave my side back then.

As you grew into a teenager, you didn’t hold my hand like you used to but I knew how you felt.

As you’ve grown into a young man, I hold you close to my heart and in my prayers every day. I love you.

[story]

What is my story? To me, it’s not very exciting. I had a great childhood, graduated high school and college, got a good job, got married, bought a house and had three kids. Sounds like the American dream, doesn’t it? But is that story good enough? By most people’s standards, it probably is. But if I think about what God’s story for me is, is it still good enough?

Every decision we make in our story should be a result of much prayer and time with the Lord, but what if they weren’t? I did not become a believer until my late twenties, so the decisions I made prior to that were out of my own power, not as a result of prayer. Some were great decisions that I wouldn’t change, but others I might. But I know that God knows our story from before He formed us in the womb. He can use every decision and outcome of our story for His good to make His name known. My desire is that my life today, my decisions today, will make His name known.

[trust]

I have struggled with trust most of my adult life.  As a perfectionist, I find it difficult to let my guard down and open my heart to others.  I lead a weekly ladies Bible study for years, but have really stayed in the facilitator role and encouraged the ladies to share their hearts while hiding mine.

Over the last two years God has burdened my heart to disciple other woman.  God has brought three woman into my life over the last year.  All three are strong Christian women and my relationship with all three has been different, but each in their own way have helped me to open up and trust certain areas of my life to each of them.

This has helped me tremendously to be a better facilitator and to trust that God has a purpose for me to not only love on these women and listen, but that God can use my experiences if I trust Him to guard my heart.

Relationships are messy but so worth it.

[hope]

This week has been tough. So many things happening in our country and the world. I wonder what the future holds for my children and future grandchildren. Will they live in country that is more unified than divided? I hope so. Will the violence around the world become less? I hope so.

Will this fallen world turn to Jesus? I hope so.  Our hope only comes through Him.

Scripture tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We can’t see the future, but my faith tells me that whether the things I hope for happen on this earth or in the heavenlies, they will happen because God is good and He is faithful.

[create]

Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created us in His image. What does that really mean? We are not God nor will we ever be. I wonder what the earth would be like if the Fall had never happened and everyone was in a right relationship with Him and we lived in Paradise. Of course He knew His creation would screw up but He loved us anyway and He so desires a relationship with us. But it has to be our choice. 

How many creations do I have? Have I created a perfect life, marriage, kids? Have I created a perfect image on social media? No, none of that exists no matter how hard we try to make others, or even ourselves, believe so. And adding #blessed to our tweets and don’t cut it either. 

What I desire to create most is time with my Lord and Savior, worshipping Him, praising Him in the good times and the bad. I want to create an atmosphere in my home, my family, my job, and all that I come in contact with, that radiates His light. 

I have a long way to go, but I know if I am obedient to His will, He will give me the desires of my heart.

[tell]

I was struggling with what I could share with the prompt “tell.”  Unfortunately I received tragic news this afternoon that has given me some words.  I work with a basketball ministry that serves kids mainly from subsidized housing complexes.  Every Saturday night, these beautiful kids hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to respond. Some are there just to play basketball, but many are there for “church.”  They are hungry for the Word. 

One of our precious 6 year old little boys was hit by a car last night and passed away. I had to tell a few people today about what happened and ask them to pray for this sweet boy’s family. When I get home tonight I have to tell my 14 year old daughter what happened.  She works with this age group every week and I know her heart will be broken, just like mine is broken right now. 

What will we tell people when they ask how God could let this happen?  We will tell them that while we don’t understand God’s ways, we know He works all things out for good.  That probably won’t make them feel any better right now, but we will tell them about Jesus and how much He loves them and how much they need Him.  My prayer is that they will receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior and one day they will see His hand in all of this. 

Go and tell someone today about Jesus. 

[worship]

Worship is something that we think only happens on a Sunday morning with a praise band or a choir belting out songs about worshipping God.  It is so much more than that.  It is the joy that radiates from our hearts anytime we stand in awe of the sacrifice He made to allow us to have a relationship with Him.

I am currently taking Kay Arthur’s Covenant Bible study.  God chose and initiated a covenant with us.  He.initiated.it.  Some covenants, like the promise of the rainbow require nothing of us.  But some, as with God’s instructions to Abraham to circumcise the adult males and servants, required something of them.  If they didn’t obey, they were cut off from God.  Though their obedience, and ours, there is worship.

God wants our worship.  He created us for His pleasure.  He deserves our worship.  John Piper, so eloquently penned that “missions exist because worship does not.”

May I worship Him in all that I say and do every day and every minute.

Photo credit

[five minute friday – middle]

This week’s five minute Friday prompt is middle.  I have struggled with what to write but a couple of thoughts come to mind.  2017 brings my 50th birthday.  I can’t remember dreading a birthday as much as this one.  I’m not sure why.  Does 50 plunge me officially into middle age?  I definitely don’t feel 50 and my kids tell me I don’t look or act like it.  That scores them points.  Maybe 50 is the new 40…

But while I know that life isn’t defined by an age, I wonder how many times I sit in the middle of certain issues instead of taking a strong stance.  Sometimes it’s easier to sit in the middle than to make friends or enemies by taking a strong stance.  Social media, along with the internet in general, can do so much good by allowing us to keep up with friends and family, but it can be an ugly place when we share our beliefs, especially controversial ones.  My heart breaks when I see Christians demean and attack, not only other Christians, but non-believers and I wonder what God thinks and how it breaks his heart.  Yes, we have to be strong in our beliefs but must we share them in love.  We can not stay in the middle, we must stand firm in our beliefs, but in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and mission, we should heed his words…