Today as I was thinking about life and such, God brought this picture to my mind.
Bowling has gutters and if we aren’t careful or skilled, the ball will end up in the gutter. However, someone came up with this wise idea to put up bumpers in order to guide the ball to where it needs to go (for those of us less skilled at bowling).
Often in life, we can foolishly end up in the gutter and miss the mark completely. However, God put wisdom in place to guide us to where we need to go. James tells us that we don’t have to do anything special to receive that wisdom except ASK!
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
We only need to ask God for wisdom and he will generously give it to us without finding fault!
We have the opportunity to live with wisdom to get us going in God’s direction, and help us make that mark. We cannot do it on our own, we just need to ASK GOD!
Will you ask Him today?
Here you are, and everyone has wonderful intentions of doing better. We have hopefully made our peace with all that 2015 embodied and are well on our way to a successful 2016. We loved. We remembered. We lost. We hurt. We fought. And now, we survived. I’ve heard many people say 2015 was their hardest year yet, and I would probably be one among them. With all that did or did not happen, many of us are relieved and hopeful for all the promises of a new year.
This past week, I had the opportunity to go over to New Balance of Omaha and check out some of their new looks and do a little fashion shoot. I’m sure you’re wondering how exactly this fits in with New Year’s and all. Well, when I think of the new year, I think of creating a new normal, a new balance to life and getting things accomplished.
So it only seemed fitting to end 2015 by preparing for my new balance of 2016 at New Balance of Omaha! My friend Art Martinez, the manager there definitely made my experience there amazing!
At New Balance, they offer three things: size, selection, and service. I am going to add the fourth S—style. Almost immediately, Art knew which pair of shoes I would eventually choose, though we did have fun trying on multiple styles and colors.
He asked what my style was and I described it as classy with a little bit of vintage, but also some sparkle. I like a lot of neutrals, especially for shoes, and he was able to find the perfect shoe to fit my style. Grey with some wool fabric and a touch of sparkle!
Yesterday, I decided to test out my New Balance lifestyle shoes in the real world and got a couple compliments on them right off the bat. They were comfortable and perfect to run my errands in style with ease.
Last year, around this time, I was in my last semester of undergrad and thus still had to attend weekly chapels. I remember going to a worship chapel where we sang the song Oceans. As one of the top Christian songs in the past few years, this song was a favorite in chapel, on the radio and on everyone’s playlists. After a while though, the words lost their meaning. On that particular day, however, I realized afresh what the words meant.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”
I knew what I was singing, but thought for a second at the weight of my words. Did I really just sing that I wanted God to take me to deeper waters? What would that look like? And was that even something I really wanted to be asking God?
This past year, God has brought me to and through some of those deeper waters. My 22nd year has been one of the hardest yet. The trials of a broken relationship and a wounded friendship took me deeper than my feet could ever wander. At times I didn’t know if I could emotionally, spiritually, and mentally survive. However, because I ran to His presence, the deeper communion I have experienced with God and this sense of unity with His Spirit makes it more than worth it. Through it all, the joy that I have is unexplainable. Even though I may still sometimes hurt, that hurt reminds me of how deep God has taken me. How he has allowed me to walk on the water, making me stronger, and let me experience the fullness of his presence.
While my heart may have been unsure when I uttered the prayer of that song, God heard the words of my lips and knew what it would take to make my faith stronger.
This summer, when I thought I had experienced the deepest of the depths, I had no idea that more was in store. While I am writing this now, I don’t know if I have seen the last of the depths. In fact, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that there are still deeper waters ahead.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble…”
I can be confident that there are deeper waters to come. BUT Jesus is not finished when he says that. He ends the statement with:
“…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Our faith can be made stronger in those deeper waters. We know that we can endure because we already know Jesus has overcome!
The trust and experience of deepened faith developed through trials is both painful and beautiful.
May we continue to be led by the Spirit, and our faith be made stronger.
I love the picture of humility and unity that was displayed at our staff meeting this past week: people coming together. Our leaders outwardly confessed, reconciled and forgave one another for bitterness in their hearts that may have been unbeknownst to the other party. It was amazing to see the love that was spread in these small confessions and brought healing to many! Really, forgiveness has more to do with the person doing the forgiving than the person forgiven.
I have realized that on social media, I have held bitterness in my heart and I have not been completely real or honest. The pictures I post are the life I want to portray to the world but not exactly the whole story. I post the good moments and am silent during the bad or pretend like it is all ok. Yes, I want to live by faith and not make it a habit to complain or gripe, but I also do not want others to think I do not struggle and am some inhuman perfect being. It is quite the opposite actually.
So this goes out to all of my readers, I am sorry for becoming bitter about the lives portrayed and the half stories I receive. But I also ask for forgiveness for perpetuating the very same thing that I do not like!
It’s hard to humble yourself and admit you’re wrong. Let me rephrase that. It is hard for me to humble myself and admit I am wrong. I want to be right! And if I am honest-I would like to think I am always right!
While I love the idea and picture of humility, and appreciate it in others, it is so much more difficult to actually make it happen in my own life. I want to be liked, or perceived in a certain way.
A while ago, in the midst of some difficult times, I was on the phone with a friend whom I had not spoken with in a while and she said, “it looks like your life is great right now!”
And I thought to myself, what is she seeing that makes my life so great, why would she say that?!
It wasn’t until I took a look at what I portrayed to the rest of the world when I realized just how bad it was. While sometimes I may want it to be good so I act like it is, sometimes it’s not and instead I am silent. I wonder who else out there, instead of faking like it’s ok, they are silent? The moment they find one ray of hope, they share it with the world and the world thinks life is perfect.
Forgive me for acting like I have it all together all the time.
Social media is a fragile and complicated thing. One can over share- complaints, TMI, or nonsense, but one can also portray themselves in the way they would like to be seen instead of who they are—flaws and all.
I’m working on it. I don’t have it all together or know exactly how to walk this thin tightrope of reality and truth mixed with respect and dignity. All I ask is that you join with me in not only speaking the truth, but in living it as well.
Today was deep cleaning day for my bathroom. It had been quite a while because, hey, I’m busy and who else every uses my bathroom besides me, right? Yeah, we’ll just say it was long overdue. Apparently our apartment has hard water because you can see it all over the drains and there is a ring around the toilet where the water sits. Disgusting, I know.
So I did the whole bleach thing and scrubbed my heart out. Although I got a good amount of it with the first try, there were still those deeper stains that had been there the longest. I let the bleach sit for 10 minutes to really sink into those stains.
I probably scrubbed that toilet for a good 15 minutes and there are still some little spots of hard water stains. So frustrating to leave the toilet knowing that I did not get it all, though those spots may be virtually invisible to the person who just happens to glance in there. AND it did look a whole lot better than what it looked like before. For some reason I could not be fully satisfied. Even now, I go back and think to myself, if only I scrubbed harder or longer, or just didn’t let it sit that long in the first place, it would be all clean!
This process reminds me of Jesus and how he cleanses and purifies us. While we may be considered 100% righteous, because we are justified by his blood, we still have to undergo this process called sanctification. Sometimes the stains are easily removed with a little bleach and the swipe of the brush, and others are tougher and require more attention and time to really scour away. Nonetheless, I know I look a whole lot better than I did before.
BUT… what about that little thing that I can’t seem to get rid of? That little imperfection that always seems to come out at the worst time possible? That daily battle that reminds me just how human I am? Why can’t I seem to get rid of those things and be wholly perfect?
I forget about how far I come and instead of saying “WOW! Look at how far God has brought me!” I think, wow, there’s that little grimy stain, still staring at me, and I can’t seem to scrub hard enough to remove it.
Tonight, we had family night at our church. We celebrated the victory we have in Christ and made the decision to not live with the victim mentality, but to live in the reality of victory because 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Instead of saying “why?” we can say “wow!” and live in awe of all that God has done and is doing in us and around us and through us. We can live with an expectation of victory because we serve a victorious God.
Thank you Jesus for the victory that I have in YOU! May I never forget what you say is true. Recently I’ve felt a little displaced, so please remind me of you unending grace. When all I am says why me? Why now? Please give me the strength to instead say WOW! When I think all is lost-at first glance, now I know to do the victory dance!
Decided to try something new as a result of a challenger in my life.
People… places…things… attitudes… ideas… you… ME!
The list goes on and on. Prayer is a powerful weapon and tool because it puts us in communication with the Most Powerful One!
Through my many 21 years (ha!) I’ve realized something (and am still realizing it): I can’t change people. As much as I try to persuade and manipulate (oh, so hard to admit at times)… It just won’t happen. However, I have found something that does work! PRAYER! I pray when someone is being unreasonable with me and I don’t want to lash back but know that God needs to be in the middle of it. I pray when I am the one being unreasonable and ask God to change my heart and desires to match up with His, so I can be loving and kind.
Prayer works miracles big and small! I often will say little prayers that may seem like nothing at the time but when I look back, I see just how much God has answered all of my seemingly petty prayers! Just the other day, I asked my friend about something that didn’t seem like a big deal but ended up being a big deal. After praying for several minutes as I went about my day-knowing that I was in the right, I decided to let it go because I knew that I wasn’t going to be the one changing her mind. Here’s the amazing little miracle: God changed her mind. She came to me in humility and love and told me it was ok and that she was sorry. She had been praying as well and followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to respond in love. I LOVE when God does this!
The same kind of thing has happened countless times with my boyfriend. We may have a disagreement or conflict about something (shocking I know) and I will submit it to the Lord because there is nothing I can do. In some way or another, his mind or mine was changed or attitude or perspective on whatever the issue may be and we were able to resolve the conflict with ease.
Now I know I’m using examples of others being changed, but what about me?! I’ve been changed through prayer! Whether it was through the prayers of my parents or my boyfriend or loving friends, I know that on more than one occasion I have had to recognize and admit my selfishness and ask for forgiveness.
So?! What does this have to do with those people who aren’t inclined to the prompting of the Holy Spirit?! He changes them too! At some point or another, we all were not inclined to the Holy Spirit but he softened our hearts anyway and drew us to our heavenly Father. Be faithful in prayer and lift it all up to the Lord because he hears you.
When do we pray?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
If we don’t have the words?
The Holy Spirit does!
26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
We have no excuse!
PS- I would love to hear how God has used prayer in your life to change a situation, a person, yourself, or anything else!