Be the One to Stand

1Thessalonians5.11It was standing room only at Boerne Middle School North last week for the 7th grade Academic Awards Program. Our family arrived just in time to find a spot along the back wall to cheer on our favorite 7th grader. The program was well underway when the most breath taking moment brought every single person in attendance to their feet applauding and cheering for two very well deserved students, and it all started with one brave young boy who was unashamed to stand.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

It was the part in the program where the teachers were handing out the Outstanding Students of the Year for their classroom. Many of the names that were called were familiar as this had been the students’ third or fourth time to be called up to the stage. Things were going as planned, the same mundane handclaps as the names were called, until one of the boy’s down front in the middle stood to his feet clapping with his hands above his head. He even gave a shout of recognition. My immediate thoughts were it must be his girlfriend…how sweet. No one else stood with him. He stood alone. He took his seat when the next name was called for the same teacher. He immediately stood again with the same shout with clapping above his head in adoration, but this time other peers began to stand and then even more joined them. Soon the adults began standing too. Everyone was to their feet. The boy was not standing for a girlfriend. He was standing for two students with special needs that had not had their names called all night. As the teacher helped the young boy with autism back down the stairs you could see his excitement in his eyes seeing the entire audience standing for him. My eyes filled with tears.

Hebrews10.24In that moment we were all unified. Looking around the room, no one was concerned about their circumstances that surrounded them. No one was thinking about their political persuasions, their religious beliefs or lack thereof. No one cared about the color of their skin. In fact no one was thinking of themselves, but rather focusing on those two precious students that deserved to be cheered on.

When we encourage each other there is hope. When we encourage each other there is love. When we encourage each other life is beautiful. Oh sweet friends, may we encourage one another.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Standing alone quoteAfter we got home that evening, I asked my daughter about the boy who stood in applause. I wanted to know who he was, and I also wanted her to know that his bravery to stand started a movement of love. It was powerful. She looked at me with her beautiful green eyes and said, “Mom, that boy was the teacher’s son.” You guys, tears swelled again. This boy knew his momma’s heart. He watched her day in and day out pour out her love to these very special students. He, himself, had fallen in love with them by watching his momma do what she does best, LOVE. This is how love never fails. Our babies are watching us. They are learning from us in how to treat others. What are you teaching your children? It’s not so much in what we say, but in what we do. I hope this inspires you as much it did me. I will never forget this evening. It was not because of the academic award my daughter and others received, but because of this one boy who stood. Be the one to STAND! Love well sweet friends. #arise #go #stand #gloryup

 

Determining His Will

james1-5-6I have been walking very closely with someone I love who has a decision to make. I love how diligent they are being to the process. I know you have been there too. You come to the fork in the road and you have to decide to turn right or left. You often times find yourself fearful in deciding because you don’t want to make the wrong decision. This fear can paralyze you. Instead of moving forward you remain right where you are. Determining God’s will or desire (and His will is always consistent with His character) is not a one and done determination. It’s a process. It usually takes time and patience on our part. Here are 5 steps to consider.

1.​ Pray.
Growing our prayer life is key to determining God’s will for us. Spending time with Him in prayer and in His Word draws us closer to His heart. It helps us to know His voice. To sense His presence and know when He is at work around us.

2.​ Place everything before Him.
Evaluate your choices. As you seek whether what you are wanting to do/say lines up with God’s will and who He is, lay everything before Him. Make a list of pros and cons. Examine your gifts, talents, time commitments, values, passions. Be so very honest about yourself and with God. He knows your heart anyway.  Be honest about your fears, doubts, temptations.

3.​ Go to the Word.
The best way to ensure we remain on the path that leads to abundant life … to walk in God’s will and His ways … is to read and memorize Scripture. This is critical. Sometimes God’s Word will give a specific answer. But, oftentimes, it doesn’t. God will not give specific instruction but rather lay before you biblical principles to apply to your circumstances. It’s imperative that as you pray, what you choose to do/say lines up with the Word of God. God will never ever ask you or lead you to do anything that conflicts with His Word.

Proverbs3.54. Seek Godly counsel.
Notice I said godly counsel. Seek counsel from a friend or mentor who is steeped in the Word and who has a deep prayer life. Someone you trust and know will truly pray for you and speak honestly to you. Don’t look to a person or people you call upon to give you THE answer. Rather, ask them to seek God on YOUR behalf. To listen to God FOR you. God will often use other people to confirm what we are hearing. And, be humble and wise, willing to receive the hard answer. If it’s someone you trust, trust what you hear. Is what you are considering going to conflict with their counsel? That is significant, so prayerfully mull that over.

5.​ Peace of God reigns in your heart.
Some of the wisest words I’ve ever received were these: “Remain … be still … hold your tongue… unless you feel called out, led or moved by God.” It’s only when you know that calling out, leading or moving is from God that peace will come. When we lack peace. When anxiety gains a foothold. When we feel overwhelmed. When our soul remains in a place of unrest. THAT is clear evidence we are NOT walking in God’s will or in alignment with His character. It’s only in walking in wholehearted devotion to Jesus that life, and the circumstances and choices we have to make, will truly make sense. We will walk out the other side of each decision with PEACE, JOY, CONFIDENCE and ANTICIPATION.

Proverbs16.9God knows the plans He has for us. If
we take a misstep, we can trust Him to
lead us back on the right track. We just
need to stick with Him through it. Proverbs 16:9 is a wonderful verse for
us. “In their hearts humans plan their
course,but the Lord establishes
their steps.” (NIV)

Here’s to taking the next step sweet friends! Don’t be afraid! He has you and will not let go of you. Trust Him! Pray. Seek. Knock. The door will be opened for you! He is a GOOD GOOD FATHER!  #arise #go #trust #followhim

 

 

 

Rejoice with Those who Rejoice; Weep with Those who Weep

CelebrationOh the joys of sweet victory! We were all so happy for all of our players. There were hugs, smiles and pure JOY. The Coaches were happy, the parents were happy and the players could not hold back their excitement. It was an amazing moment for all. Oh how I wished the moment did not have to end. I loved seeing our girl so happy. It was time to gather her bags and get them in the car to leave. She was starving after putting all of her energy in the game, so we asked her where she wanted to go eat. We told her she could pick anywhere…anything she wanted. Her response did not surprise us. Chick-fil-A is always the winner when it comes to our girls.

We found our way to the nearest Chick-fil-A. The line, as always, was out the door. There was hardly a table to be found. We managed to squeeze in a booth to enjoy the food and good conversation. There was a sweet lady that came up to us to ask what the medal was for around our daughter’s neck. We told her and she congratulated us. A complete stranger took notice and rejoiced with us. So sweet. We were winding things up and getting ready for the long trip ahead of us, so I wanted to change into some comfortable clothes. I got the keys to the car and headed out to grab them. After making a visit to the bathroom to change I returned to find my family. There was some commotion in a booth just a couple down from where we were sitting. The entire restaurant had come to a stand still. All eyes were on this family.

Romans 12It was a five year old boy who was down on the ground being held by his mother while his dad communicated quickly to the workers that they needed help. Everyone rallied for them. The Chick-fil-A Employees were amazing. One bent down to help the mom hold her boy up. He had turned blue. He was not breathing. We were uncertain of what had happened. We thought he was choking until we heard the dad tell 911 dispatchers that they had just left the ER for complications with seizures. The mom was trying desperately to get her son to respond to her. It was a moment I will never forget. I looked up at my husband and daughter and told them we needed to pray. We did. Right there in the middle of the restaurant we stopped and prayed. We wanted to do more, but we didn’t know what or how. I looked into the eyes of my oldest daughter who had just celebrated such a victory who had now been overcome with tears. In that moment, I had an overwhelming compassion for those precious parents, and I wanted them to know. The booth next to them was open, so I slid in and rubbed the mom’s back as she wiped her tears. I told her we are praying for you. She looked up at me and told me thank you. The little boy’s name was Andy, and he had the most beautiful brown eyes. He regained consciousness but was unaware of what was happening. Andy’s dad was strong. He told him that it was okay to be scared, and they were going to get him help.

The paramedics arrived on the scene and quickly took over. The traffic outside was so great they didn’t have time to bring in a stretcher. One of the Paramedics took Andy into his arms and carried him out to the ambulance. We knew that they had things under control, so we headed to the car. Our rejoicing had diminished and we were somber. We wanted Andy to be okay.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:15-17

These verses were read over the XM radio just a few miles after we left the restaurant. They permeated my ears. I had just experienced what those words mean up close and personal. A complete stranger came up to congratulate us. She was rejoicing with us. A complete family was in distress and the entire restaurant stopped to help.

In a world that seems to be in turmoil and complete chaos, there are still those who love and care for others. I love what the footnote of my bible reads about these verses. It says, “God calls us to real and sincere love that goes far beyond pretense and politeness. Sincere love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands our time, money, and personal involvement. No individual has the capacity to express love to a whole community, but the body of Christ in your town does. Look for people who need your love, and look for ways you and your fellow believers can love your community for Christ.

I hope this inspires you to look for people to rejoice with this week, and look for people that are mourning. We can bring real love to one another and make this world a better place. If you pray, will you add Andy and his parents to your prayers. I can’t seem to get them off of my heart and mind. I believe The Lord has them in His most capable hands just as He has you and me.  Be blessed as you GO this week! #arise #go #love #gloryup

She Laughs Without Fear of the Future

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What does that mean? According to Wikipedia, it is an English language-idiom that refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image or that an image of a subject conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does.

LaughterThis picture was taken a little over a month ago by one of our daughter’s who was trying to capture the essence of coffee art but instead captured her parents laughter. She sent it to me for me to save in my camera roll with a text that read this was her favorite picture of us. I fell in love with it too. Who doesn’t love moments of pure joy and laughter? I wish I could tell you that this was us always. I wish I could tell you that I always choose JOY and laughter in this precious life I have been given. I wish I could find a way to capture our moments of living our very best life and make them last. Don’t you? What if I told you that I learned, just yesterday, the secret in making this a reality by hearing the truth of God’s word. Would you believe me?

“So do NOT be AFRAID of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight, what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do NOT be AFRAID of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So DO NOT be AFRAID; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:26-31

Jesus tells us in these words DO NOT BE AFRAID! Three times within the same paragraph the words are repeated…Do NOT BE AFRAID! Fear cripples us. Fear robs us of our JOY and laughter. We can live victoriously instead of as a victim when we have NO FEAR! I love how he speaks to us in the dark, in our quiet places where it is just the two of us. Did you know that when He whispers in our ears it was meant to be proclaimed to the world? He tells us to proclaim it to the roofs. SHOUT it out so all can hear…we have nothing to be afraid of because we have a God that loves us and has already won the battle.

Look at the two sparrows. They are sold for next to nothing. A penny was a day’s wages back in Jesus’s day. If you did the math today it would be roughly $3 and change to purchase two sparrows for food. We spend more than that on our coffee. Yet he goes on to tell us that not one of them will die apart from the will of the Father. He is SOVEREIGN and reigning over all.  We are worth MORE than many sparrows. He’s got us. We can trust Him.

As I was listening to these words of truth being spoken from our Pastor yesterday I could feel myself coming alive again. He spoke directly to the mom’s in telling us that some of us are living in high anxiety over our children and our spouse’s. YES! I am! I don’t want anything to happen to them. I want to protect them and keep them safe from this mean world. That’s a worthy thing to desire, but we are not in control. Our God is! Give your worries over to him. Let go of the fear that is robbing you of your JOY and laughter. God the Christ is going to save us to the uttermost. The Christ-follower will be vindicated. This is GOOD NEWS. This is how we can live VICTORIOUSLY even when our circumstances tell us differently.

Proverbs 31.25

To all of YOU beautiful women…we can laugh at the future because it is secure. Hold your head high. Walk in confidence. Release your worries over to our Heavenly Father and LIVE free of FEAR! We are clothed in STRENGTH and DIGNITY. We CAN LAUGH WITHOUT FEAR of the future. This is our truth because of JESUS! His promises are true. #arise #donotfear #laugh #live #Jesus #shoutittotheroofs

 

 

 

Press On Towards The Goal

Ashley's footThis sweet girl and her love for the game continue to amaze me. There doesn’t seem to be anything, pain included, that can make her stop playing. She hesitated in telling us that her foot was hurting for a couple of days. By the time she spoke up her inner arch on her left foot was purple and blue. As her mom, and a woman that does not like pain, I really cannot understand. Even after she told us she insisted that she was fine and didn’t need to go to the doctor. Luckily, we didn’t listen to her reasoning, and we took her in to be checked out.

It’s not broken…Praise The LORD! She has a bone spur, from a previous injury that we didn’t know existed, that is causing swelling, irritation and pain to her foot. When the doctor gave her the news that she would need to wear a boot and rest the first thing out of her mouth was, “Does this mean I can’t play this weekend?” Surprisingly, the doctor told her as long as she can bear through the pain she is allowed to take the boot off to play her sport and then put it back on. This is why she has a smile on her face in her picture…well that and Smoothie King, her new favorite.

basketball goal philippians 3Here’s what this strong-willed child of mine taught me this week… JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE PAIN DOESN’T MEAN YOU STOP LOVING! You press in! You pray! You LOVE! You keep going!

“Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me – so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

Paul understood pain. He experienced it physically and emotionally. He asked for it to go away. There was a purpose in the pain remaining. It was to keep him from becoming arrogant, to keep him dependent on His Lord to be his strength. I love The Lord’s reply to Paul. It’s the same for you and me…His grace is enough! His power is made perfect in our weakness. When we are weak, our God is STRONG therefore we are strong because he is in us. We can do hard things. We can keep going even when it hurts. We can forgive. We can love. We can press on towards the goal.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and Sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Friends, I don’t know about you but those words bring me encouragement and instruction to follow. When we forget what is behind us and strain forward to what is ahead of us we will keep moving forward…one step in front of the other. Our girl’s love for the game of a sport has her heart passionate to keep fighting through the pain. That’s amazing, but what’s even more amazing is when we keep our eyes on the true prize of life, JESUS CHRIST, and we fight through our trials and pain knowing that we will WIN the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

ARISE and GO

Easter 2018My word of the year keeps surfacing as a reminder from The Lord to do what He has asked of me. It’s not subtle at all. Every time I hear it or see it written I am immediately drawn in to pay attention. I guess I should not have been surprised that on Easter Sunday, surrounded by my precious family, The Lord would use this simple word to speak again. This time…even louder and bolder than ever before.

“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now ARISE and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'” Acts 26:15-18

These are Jesus’s words spoken to Saul who was converted to Paul on the road to Damascus. In this account in Acts, Paul is actually giving his testimony to King Herod Agrippa who has Paul in chains for being steadfast and true to his calling as a follower of Christ. Paul tells him how he too was convinced that he ought to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth…and he did just that by putting many of the saints in prison and put to death. As he continued to travel in his obsession to fight against those preaching about Jesus, he was blinded by a light from heaven. The bible tells us it was brighter than the sun. He and his companions fell to the ground and he heard a voice in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

Can you imagine being Saul? You have gone around as a Pharisee, opposing the name of Jesus, when you are blinded and spoken to by Christ himself with the convicting question of WHY? Saul goes on to ask, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The punctuation of this sentence indicates that he asked the question as a rhetorical…he already knew the answer. Who are you. Lord?

The answer would come with a calling on his life! ARISE  and stand on your feet. Jesus promises him that he will rescue him from his own people. He tells him he will send Paul to them to open THEIR EYES and turn them from darkness to light…from Satan to God…so that they may receive forgiveness of sins…and a place, Heaven!

Friends, listen, the story of Easter is not just a story and a day on the calendar to celebrate and forget. There is a calling on our lives as his followers, just like Paul was given. Can you hear him whisper to you…ARISE and stand on your feet! Go and help open the eyes of the lost and broken. Help them to turn from the darkness to the light. Help them to turn from Satan to God…so that they may receive forgiveness and join those that have been sanctified by Christ in Heaven.

He is RisenTears! That’s the call on our lives! To help the lost to be found. To tend to God’s sheep. We are all His children, and he wants all of us to make it home to him. I get overwhelmed when I think that He can use a wretch like me, someone that has persecuted him, just like Paul. I have seen him rescue me over and over…more times than I deserve. He keeps restoring me and bringing me back to him. He is so faithful and true. Because of HIS faithfulness it keeps me marching on to spread the good news. I will ARISE and GO! I will share the light of His truth to help those have eyes to see. Will you join me?

This was my favorite worship song from our Easter service. I hope you enjoy taking a listen and hearing the words of truth. Be blessed as you ARISE AND GO!

 

 

The Art of Spec Removal

John 3.16Did you know that the most quoted verse in the bible has changed over the past 20 to 30 years?  When you and I were young this was the verse that everyone quoted and knew: “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. Do you know what it is today? When I share it with you it will not surprise you. You won’t necessarily know where this verse is in the bible, but you have heard it quoted. Even non-believers know this verse and are quick to point it out. Our culture has pulled us from a Christ centered verse to a verse that focuses on us. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” Matthew 7:1.

This is the verse that our children are growing up hearing used most often. Think about the ramifications of this significant change in our culture. Instead of quoting the gospel with John 3:16 we have taken a verse out of context and are using it to give us permission to do whatever we want to do without any accountability for our actions. Sadly, this is not what Jesus was saying when he quoted those words over 2,000 years ago. We have to read on to understand the meaning.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5

Here’s the deal…there are two people with something in their eye. The goal is to remove both the plank and the speck from both sets of eyes. In order to do that we have to be reflective on our own sin first. When we see our sin and ourselves for who we are it causes us to approach our brother and sister struggling in sin with love, compassion and understanding. It’s not a finger pointing opportunity to point out wrongs in others.  It comes from a place to help restore sight so they can see. Isn’t that beautiful!

Our Pastor shared the analogy of his son who loves to play in the sandbox in their backyard. He and his wife were watching their children play when they saw their son get dirt thrown in both eyes. His eyes were shut and he began to try to walk around unable to see. He asked us what kind of father would he be if he just let his son try to figure out how to get the dirt out on his own? It’s actually cruel to think about isn’t it. Of course a loving father would get up, get a wet paper towel and go to him to help remove the dirt. That is love. When we help another brother and sister remove the speck from their eye we are loving them. We are helping them to be able to SEE!

Don’t be swayed by the culture’s lie. We are not called to sit back and watch as sin destroys lives of those we love. We are to lovingly come alongside of each other to offer help so that all of us can SEE! Let’s get busy loving one another!

There was so much to take away from this message that I had to go back and listen to it again. It’s worth listening to in your free time.  I hope it impacts you as much as it did me. #curreycreek #arise #gloryup

The Narrow Road

TravellingI spent some time on the road this past week with my dad and girls traveling. We were going to a place that was unfamiliar territory for all of us. Before we headed out I typed in our destination in the Waze App, and it quickly calculated our directions and even had an estimated time of arrival. We have come so far in our technology that we can literally just jump in a car and go without giving it much thought as to how we are going to get there. Gone are the days of reading maps and stopping and asking for directions.

In many ways I love the convenience of typing in an address and directions appear and even audibly tell me which way to turn. Wouldn’t it be nice if life could work like that? We just type in our destination…Heaven…hit calculate and it gives us a nice pathway to get there. There will never be an app that can do that for us, but we do have His Holy word to guide us and direct us on our journey.

Verse“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

We have a decision to make when it comes to which road to choose. I just shared with one of my girls this week about the time I had to decide on whether or not to stay in the Corporate world and work in radio which is where I had earned my degree or be a mom. I loved my job. I loved the people I got to meet, and the cool places I got to go. I thought I had arrived at where I was supposed to be in life, but my precious family was suffering. My husband was bathing the kids and feeding them dinner as I would get home late often. I was dropping them off at two different locations for daycare because we felt strongly in them going to the preschool at our church. It was exhausting, and I constantly felt like I was swimming upstream. I told my husband that if I could just get our baby over to the church where I could have one drop off and pick up that would help make things easier.

I called the Church Preschool office and spoke to the Director. She told me I was the 4th person that day that had called looking for infant care. You guys there is a 4 to 1 ratio for babies to teacher.  The Director told me she needed to find a teacher and she could make the class work.  I thought…GREAT, let me know when you find her.

The Director called me the next day to ask if I wanted to be the Preschool teacher. She said The Lord kept putting me on her heart. You guys that was the furthest from my plans. I wanted to keep my job doing what I loved to do, but I found myself with a decision to make. I had to ask for help. My husband told me to make a Pro’s and Con’s list. I had a whole list of excuses as to why I should keep the job. I was going to get a discount for the girls daycare. I was going to work 9a to 2:30p. I was going to rock one of my own babies. I was not going to have to pay for after school care anymore. I would not have to work anymore weekends. The list was long for the pro’s and very short for the con’s. I was literally going to make $20 less to rock babies than to keep my salary paying job. The answer was obvious, but at the end of the day I still had a decision to make.

I had to go into my boss and tell him that I was resigning. I had sweaty palms, my heart rate was high, and it was hard. After I told him, he looked me in the eyes and told me that I had just made the best decision of my life and that I would never look back and regret choosing to be a mom. He was right.

Narrow roadI love being a mom and helping my girls find the narrow gate that leads to life eternal. I told my girl that was listening to me share the story that in the end the decision was mine to make. I had to do what was hard in order to put the needs of my family before myself. Often times choosing the narrow road is as simple as putting others above ourselves. When our focus is off of us and placed on those we love the most it helps us see the pathway a little more clearly. Then we do the hard thing and walk in the way!

 

Coming Out of Your Comfort Zone

Calling QuoteI love being comfortable. The first thing I do when I get home from work is head to my bedroom to change clothes. I put on my comfy pants and shirt, slide on my house shoes, and throw my hair back in a ponytail. After dinner time I like to snuggle up under a soft blanket and cozy up with my family. How about you? Do you like to be comfortable?

What if we take this question a step further and relate it to our personal lives? We like it when things go smooth don’t we? When our bank accounts have extra money at the end of the month, when our kids obey and follow our rules, when our boss recognizes us for the hard work we give, when our spouse wants to shower us with affection and take us on a date. The list can go on and on. We like it when life goes like this, but what happens when it doesn’t? 

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” Mark 1:16-20

These men were doing what they loved to do. They were comfortable with their profession. They were fishermen. They were good at it too. They were going about their comfortable lives when Jesus came and invited them to follow him. Notice the underlined words in the verses…when Jesus approached Simon (Peter) and Andrew they responded AT ONCE! They left their nets and followed him. When he approached James and John they responded WITHOUT DELAY and left their father with the hired men and followed him. Wow! I often wonder if Jesus were to show up in our lives today if we would respond the same. Would we drop everything and go? Would we without delay say YES and leave our comforts behind? 

My family is going on our 4th year of living in a new community. Four years ago, our lives were comfortable where we were. We had a church family that we loved. We had a business that we poured our hearts into. We had amazing friends that had become family. Our kids were grounded and supported by amazing teachers and faithful friends. Life was good. On a Sunday afternoon, our Lord spoke to my husband and I during the same message. It was unsettling to me. I wanted to pretend that he had not asked me to let go of it all and to GO where he was leading. My husband felt the same. We both got in the car quiet. We took our girls to lunch like we always do. We went through the next few hours without discussing anything. We finally made it home into the privacy of our bedroom. Ryan asked me if he could visit with me about something. I told him yes, I have something to share too. Within the next few minutes we both realized that we had heard the same message. We had been invited by The Lord to GO and FOLLOW HIM and he would make us fishers of men. 

Confidence QuoteWe could have said no. We could have remained in our comfortable, but we found courage to say YES. We found the confidence to take each new step as it came our way. This “Journey to the Hills” has been a rich journey of faith for our entire family. We’ve had to lean into Him for every bit of it. We’ve had to lean into each other. We are still leaning in. The Lord has expanded our reach for his people, and I love being one of his disciples. My man has come into another calling. At the start of this month he became the Administrator for a Hospice Company on top of being the Administrator of the Home Health. He is serving such a special population of people, and I am proud of him. I am at the High School with my girls. The Lord knows exactly what he is doing placing me there. I love that in these difficult teenage years He placed me right in the middle of their world. I am forever grateful for His ways being so much higher than mine. I am still writing. I am still listening to Him speak and sharing it with all of you! My confidence is coming back! I am grateful! 

So what about you? Are you comfortable where you are? Are you afraid of losing your comfort? Are you being stretched into a new season where you don’t know what lies ahead? Are you afraid you don’t have the confidence it takes to fulfill your calling? Lean into what you are feeling. Ask The Lord to give you confidence and clarity. He equips the called. He will give you exactly what you need. He is so faithful! #gloryup #arise #go

Be Brave

Jess and meI had the wonderful opportunity to spend an evening with my little sister last week. She called me up a couple of months ago and asked if I would want to go with her to the last stop on the “Moxie Matters” tour in Austin with Jen Hatmaker and Nicole Nordeman. She paid for my ticket and told me it was a gift…no need to pay her back. Wow! What a treat and the evening will go down in my memory books for a lifetime.

The message Jen Hatmaker shared was on PAIN! Really Lord!?! I was tapped out of walking through pain. I really wanted an evening where things could be light and not so heavy. As it turns out, The Lord uses our moments of pain to transform us the most. Jen has always had a comedian style to her approach of sharing the good news. We all chuckled as she questioned why He couldn’t grow us through happiness or our vacations, I mean really couldn’t there be an easier way than pain?

She had us turn to the story of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Jesus is being questioned by an expert in the law. He wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. I love Jesus and his answers.  He knew the guy was an expert in the law, so he asked him what was written in it. The answer: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Jesus tells him that he has answered correctly and tells him to “Do this and you will live.” The expert has another question…”And who is my neighbor?”

This is where Jesus could have given him a straight answer instead he tells a story.  The very first sentence in the story rocked my world on this evening. I have read this story many times but for whatever reason this was the first time I allowed the pain of it to sink in. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dad.” Luke 10:30

Jesus starts the story with a man in PAIN! He was left naked, beaten and half dead. I have never experienced this kind of physical pain. Sadly there are those that have because of our broken world that we live in. I have experienced other forms of pain where I was left deeply emotionally scarred and bruised. We all can relate to the man who was left half dead can’t we?

Can we also relate to the ones that passed him by? The Priest…the Levite! They were religious and were thought of in high regards yet they passed by on the other side. They didn’t even want to walk by him on the same side of the road. They saw him suffering and did nothing. When we see our brothers and sisters suffering do we keep walking as if we don’t see they are struggling. I know I am guilty.

ElephantsHave you ever been the Samaritan? Have you ever stopped to go out of your way to help someone that was deeply wounded that needed help getting back up on their own two feet? Jen went on to share a beautiful story about this picture that you are seeing with the elephants. In the wild when a momma elephant is giving birth the other female elephants encircle her while she goes through the pain of bringing forth new life. They stomp and throw up dirt telling the predators that if they want to mess with their sister while she is vulnerable they will have to go through them first! You guys…this is where it got to me the most in the evening. Jen asked if there were ladies in the room that were in the middle of the circle…currently walking through the pain. She asked them to BE BRAVE and to stand where they were. Ladies popped up all around the room. You could hear a pin drop. Then she asked if you have a lady standing near you if you would be willing to go and encircle her and be a part of her tribe.  There was a precious lady standing directly behind me. I stood up and grabbed her hand.

As other ladies joined me in encircling her the tears began to fall.  She was able to let down her guard and simply be held in that moment. She was safe. She was loved and she was PRAYED for by a group of ladies that had never met her before. It was beautiful. This is what being a Samaritan looks like. This is what being a good neighbor IS!

This is what our world needs most right now. When we stand beside each other, support and love each other through the pain there is transformation and new life that can begin. I pray you have a mighty and fierce tribe that is willing to encircle you when you are vulnerable. I hope you are BRAVE enough to stand up and reach out for help.

These words are true: “When we deny our own pain we are denying our own transformation.” Jen Hatmaker

I don’t know about you but I don’t want my pain to be for nothing. I want to lean into it, and allow it to transform me into a better me.

On the contrary when we don’t this also is true: “People who don’t transform their pain transmit it on to others.” Jen Hatmaker

The last thing I want to do is bring pain to other people…especially the people I love the most. Be BRAVE! Lean IN! Deal with the pain and allow it to TRANSFORM YOU! There is new life waiting to begin when you do! #ARISE