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Showing posts from 2018

Season's Greetings

It's the Christmas season, and at the same time, it's a transition from my single season to married life. As I leave the single season, there are some things that I will miss--namely the groups of Christian singles I met while I was in my single season. Someone recently joked with me that I "graduated" from the singles group because I got married. It was a funny comment, but not unlike what it really is like to graduate--I liken it to college. While we are in college, we live and do life with others who are at the same stage in life. We cheer for our team. But we know it's temporary, and one day we will no longer be in college. Some breeze through college in no time, while others spend a significant portion of their lives there. When we graduate, we will look back fondly on those years, and we will still cheer for our team, but because we are no longer a student, it's not quite the same. We have moved into a different stage of life. Singleness and marriage r…

Can't Stop the Pain

Several years ago, I broke my ankle at Hawaiian Falls. How I broke my ankle is horrifically embarrassing, and I will only tell close friends the actual story. Following the incident, I thought I was ok, even though I could hardly walk on it. The bottom line is that I'm cheap: I didn't want to pay money to go to the ER, and I didn't want to have to pay for a doctor's visit just for them to tell me everything is fine. Except it wasn't fine. Over the next few weeks, the pain increased, and I knew something was definitely wrong. By the time I finally went to the doctor, I was told that a piece of my ankle bone had chipped off, and it had already started to fuse back together incorrectly. The only way to fix it was to have surgery. That was a big "nope" from me. There was no way I was paying money for surgery to fix a tiny chip on my ankle, and even then, there was no guarantee I would ever be pain-free.

This physically painful incident taught me much more tha…

Believing isn't Enough

If you've been around children any amount of time, you know just how gullible and naïve they are. Kids will readily believe anything, simply because you tell them it's true. Eyes bulge in awe as they say, "Really?" wanting to know more. Prime examples are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. This child-like wonder fades the older we get, and we no longer take things at face value. We lose our innocence, and we start to question what we are told.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3 that we need to become child-like in our faith in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. We need to believe in the Lord without all the complications life throws at us, which is hard to do. We go through hurt and rejection. We lose those we love; we experience life. We realize that head-knowledge is not heart-knowledge. It becomes less easy to just believe in the Lord's goodness. Through the rollercoaster of life, this verse reminds us to believe and be saved. Just believe.

In A…

Dating is a Struggle

Dating is a struggle. I know I'm not alone in that struggle, either. For many Christian singles, dating is just plain difficult--especially post-divorce. Dating in my teens and 20's was much more simple. We were young, wild and reckless. We didn't have mortgages and 401k's. There weren't the constraints of kids and carting them to and from practices, rehearsals, recitals and games. Nowadays, if he has kids too, that means trying to mesh both sets of kids' schedules. It means weaving 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends with 2nd and 4th weekend visitation schedules. It's just a logistical nightmare.

Logistics isn't the only thing that makes dating at this stage in life difficult. It's finding a person with whom we are compatible. Someone who enjoys the same things we do; someone whom we like being around, and someone who is emotionally healthy. We have all experienced hurt and rejection, and we are all on a different path to healing and forgiveness for those pa…

Learning Styles are God's Speaking Styles

As an educator for 15 years, I have learned a lot about learning styles--or more accurately, I have been forced into professional development sessions where the topic is learning styles. A learning style is the preferred method of absorbing, processing and retaining information. The first time I heard about learning styles, with an eye-roll and a sigh, I thought it was a bunch of hog-wash. The more I learned about it, however, the more merit I found in learning styles. It made me realize why I can't focus on a speaker's words unless I am taking notes or doodling. It made me realize why I hated listening to directions, and I just wanted someone to hand it to me so I could read it myself. It's because I'm a visual learner--processing auditory information has always been difficult for me.

Depending on which list you look at, there are several categories into which learning styles can be broken down. The easiest is to break it down into three categories: visual, auditory …

At the Water's Edge

The sun slowly drops into the water, and feeble rays of sunlight cast long shadows of masts and sails on the rickety dock. The breeze coming off the water gently cools my sun-burned face. I close my eyes, and I drink in the humid air. I should have gone in hours ago, but there’s something about being right next to the water that draws me in, that beckons me to stay.
So many of life’s lessons can be learned at the edge of a dock. Watching the gentle waves reminds me of the Lord’s goodness. His lovingkindness never ends, and He will wash over me wave after wave. When I make a mistake, He doesn’t change—the waves don’t stop—I do. I have to make sure I don’t stop, because I have to trust that He won’t.
The tremendous power of the water reminds me how small and insignificant I really am. The only way I can make a substantial change to that expanse of water is repeatedly making consistent movements. If I persevere, then it can take me across the expanse of water where I want to go. If I give…

Power, Love and a Sound Mind

When confronted with fear, a commonly quoted scripture is 2 Timothy 1:7, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind." It's comforting to know that God has given us these things, and that the fear we feel is not from the Lord. What's even more comforting and cool is when you use a little logic and apply this scripture to other scriptures. Let's examine more closely the three things we are told that God has given us:

Power
Acts 1:8 says that "I shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon me." Then 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that "power is perfected in our weakness." So that means that when the Holy Spirit comes upon me, I am perfected in my weakness and the Holy Spirit is perfected in me as well. Not only am I perfected, but that power--the Holy Spirit--actually is the Kingdom of God on earth. I Corinthians 4:20-21 says that "the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power." This means th…

Forgiveness

One of the hardest things Jesus ever asked us to do was to forgive those who have hurt us. In our minds, we say, "He hurt me, so he should feel the same pain I am feeling right now." In our human capacity of thinking and feeling, vengeance only seems natural. However, that's not what Jesus did, and that's not grace.

When our enemies hurt us, I feel it is slightly easier to forgive. We expect our enemies to hurt us--we don't like one another, so it stands to reason that we would hurt one another. The need for vengeance is still there, but we can allow ourselves to forgive them just a little bit easier. What's much more difficult is when those whom we love hurt us. We expect so much more from the ones we love. They have given us unspoken promises just by saying the words, "I love you." Inherent in those three little words are so much more: "I will protect you," "I will be faithful to you," "I will think about your needs above…

Dancing with Jesus

I wish I were a better dancer than I am, but I definitely got the short-end of the rhythm stick. If I dance with a man who can lead me, then I can do ok, but it still isn't going to look much better than a horse prancing backwards. Maybe my dancing ineptitude is why God chose to speak to me through a dance.

During communion at church the other day, God showed me a picture of me dancing with Jesus. "Stop looking at your feet," Jesus gently whispered in my ear. "But how will I know the steps?" was my incredulous reply. I don't know the steps to any dance, and I always look at my feet—or at least other people's feet—so I can copy them. I kept trying to back away from Jesus so I could look at my feet, watch His feet, and try to follow His steps. It wasn't working. Not once did Jesus get upset with me. His eyes were trained on mine, with a loving smile across his lips. He would nod to me assuringly, and He pressed His hand on the small of my back, brin…

Mashed Potatoes

I’ve heard a saying that says something to the effect of “the same boiling water that hardens the egg softens the potato.” It’s not the boiling water—the situation you are in—but rather what you’re made of that determines the outcome of that adversity. So when adversity comes, which will you be? An hardened egg or a softened potato?

Hopefully, we can all be potatoes. Imagine if you were that potato being boiled, though. You went through the pain of boiling water, and you’re now softened. But you’re still not ready to be eaten. So the Lord starts mashing you. It seems like it’s the worst pain in the world, and why would this happen after being redeemed from the boiling water? Getting mashed doesn’t sound like much fun at all. But He’s molding you into what He wants—a delectable culinary delight. He adds the milk and the butter, the salt and the pepper. He is creating something way better than what that potato was prior to the boiling—or even after the boiling. The key is to know that…

Fleeting Feelings

In our postmodernist society, we are inundated with media that tells us, "If it feels good, do it." We are told to indulge in whatever vices we desire--sex, drugs, alcohol, gluttony, whatever it may be. What's right for you may not be right for me. The only caveat we are given is to do no harm to others. Postmodernists believe that definite terms, boundaries, and absolute truth do not exist. They believe that truth is relative and truth is up to each individual to determine for him or herself. Therefore, postmodernists believe that no one has the authority to define truth or impose upon others his or her idea of moral right and wrong. Their self-rationalization of society and life then, becomes a moral relativism versus divine revelation. There can be no latter if there is only the former. This pervasive, persuasive, and perverse thinking can be seen in our movies, TV shows, news media, education system, government, and even our children.

This kind of relative morality …

Put in the Work

Several years ago, after my divorce, God promised me a home (as in one I could purchase for myself and my girls). So I started working my butt off to save money; I drove the bus whenever I could, and I started coaching to earn extra cash. We scrimped and saved. I did massive amounts of credit repair. Then I had to go house hunting. I had to write a $1,000 earnest money check. I had to put in a mortgage application. I had to sign the documents. I had to go get a really big cashier's check with all the money I had in the entire world. And in August, I bought my first new home as a single mom. God was the only way it could happen.

With this being said, God made me a promise of a home. But I had to do the work on myself first, then I had to actually put myself out there and go through the process of purchasing the home. God was with me every step of the way, guiding me, teaching me and showing me what to do. But He did not just drop a house in my lap. I didn't just keep praying m…

Satan's Attacks

Growing up, the adults in my life would tell me that I was a leader. Being young and naïve, I would try to be a leader--I ran for class office, I tried to step up into other leadership roles at school, and I never won. Not once. My senior year, I was captain of the basketball team, but that was mainly because I was the best one on the team--not because of stellar leadership skills. I left high school thinking that the adults in my life were severely misled about my abilities, and that I was most definitely not a leader. So that's how I led my life--that is until a couple years ago.

One of the singles pastors at church decided that I needed to lead a group. Obviously, I did not concur, but I bit the bullet and did it anyway. After that season, I was asked again to be a leader, then again. In May 2016, I got a call from my singles pastor. She asked me to lead the Single Parent Family Mission Trip to Mexico. I had not even really planned on going on that trip. I had been praying abo…

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Jesus Would Advocate for Civil Disobedience

In March, executive orders from governors across the country forced us to stay home, to close schools and churches and to shut down private businesses. Businesses were classified as either "essential" or "non-essential." All businesses deemed "non-essential" were forced to close. This included markets, clothing stores, boutiques, dine-in restaurants, and beauty salons. State parks, city parks, beaches, walking trails, lakes, and other wide open spaces were closed as well.

Many people feel that the "social distancing," as it has come to be known, and stay at home executive orders violate their constitutional rights, such as our first amendment right to freely exercise our religion, our right to peaceably assemble, and that we shall not be deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of the people who feel their rights have been violated have decided to exercise their First Amendment right to protest. Some have even chosen to defy…

Covert Red Flags: The Real Things You Should Be Looking Out For in Relationships

Your relationship with your spouse should be the closest human relationship you ever have. As we are dating, we are assessing whether or not that person could potentially fit into our inner circle. This causes us to be on high alert for red flags. Most red flags are obvious--lack of communication, anger issues, irresponsibility, controlling behavior, abuse, etc. A quick Google search will bring up list upon list of red flags we should look out for. Being rude to waitstaff, not making your relationship public, not caring about XYZ, stone walling, gaslighting, and more can all be found on most lists.

But what about the covert red flags? Those things that are less obvious. My first marriage taught me to look out for the overt red flags like the ones found in every advice column. My second marriage taught me to look out for covert red flags, ones that I never even realized were red flags until I could look back. The entire time we dated, I kept looking for the overt red flags, and there …

Because of Who I Am

Someone posted on Facebook the other day the following:
Why would you fight for someone who clearly doesn't want you? Please let them go. You are valuable, just not to them. I thought about it for a minute, because I indeed fought for my husband when he clearly didn't want me. I fought for our marriage, even when he had zero interest in making our marriage work. He had already checked out and told me point-blank that he just didn't want to work on our marriage, but yet I fought on my knees before the Lord.

Throughout the first few months of our separation, I prayed day-in and day-out. I beseeched the Lord to intercede. I rebuked Satan, and I prostrated myself before the Lord God Almighty. I went to therapy, and I watched sermons online. I listened to every Jimmy Evans podcast I could find. I journaled and devoured God's Word. I wrote my husband scriptures and prayers daily. I soon filled a 100-page journal front and back.

Shortly after he left in June, God told me tha…