Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How to Really be Free

Are you really free?
Can you throw your hands up in the air and dance like you just don't care? :-)

That might seem like a funny saying but the fact remains that if you're really free....
then you just don't care what people think.
I'm not talking about putting on the facade of freedom.
You know, like going to a concert and crazily screaming over the band along with thousands of other fans.
Or, like yelling for your favorite team during the playoffs along with the rest of the football lovers in the stands.
It looks like freedom...but, it isn't.
Freedom doesn't necessarily mean reckless or loud.


Just ask yourself this question-
"Would I scream over the band and yell at the game if no one else was doing it with me?
Am I willing to be the only one making a fool of myself?"

Free people stand out from the rest.
They don't fit into the modern day mold.

Freedom is messy and uneven and imperfect and, at times, lonely.
Freedom gets misunderstood and misinterpreted and mistaken.
True freedom ticks people off and ruffles feathers.

Free people passionately pursue their God-given purpose without bowing to their critics.


But, I'm not gonna let what other people think hold me back.
Are you?

Galatians 5:1-
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again
by a yoke of slavery."

To not be free means that I'm a slave to something.
Here are some types of slavery that many women struggle with:

Perfectionism
Vanity
Comparison
Insecurity

These struggles are really chains that entangle us and keep us bound.
They hold us down and keep us stuck in a cold, dark cell of self pity.

Ladies, that is not God's best for you.
Freedom is always God's best.

Wanna know how to really be free?

Simple.
Be who God has called YOU to be.

Freedom looks different to everyone.
It comes in all shapes and sizes.
And it's available to all.

But one thing remains the same.
True freedom is not the same as self expression.
It may look unusual or different.
That's ok.
But let's be clear:
Real freedom is an inner work that results in an outward change.
It is not self-earned or self-made.
Free people know that only Jesus can set them free.

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John 8:36
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

In the words of one of my fave singers, Bruno Mars,
"Girl, you're amazing just the way you are."

Embrace the masterpiece of you.
And then stand firm in your new-found freedom.
Trust me, it's a gift to truly be free!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Magnetic Beauty

As we get older, we should be maturing a little bit more every year.

We should be able to look back at this time last year and say,
"I have learned so much since then."
And, we should be able to look ahead to this time next year and say,
"I will not be struggling with that anymore by then."



You can call it what you want:
GOALS
PRIORITIES
STEPS

All those things are correct.
But, I personally like to call it GROWTH.

Because staying the same is just not God's best for me....or you.
Staying the same means comfort and predictability and stagnant living.
Not growing means limiting ourselves to what we 've always done.
Like, staying a sprout when God calls us to shoot up towards the sky and bloom.

I want to bloom!
I want to flourish!
Don't you?



GROWTH is a sign of health and life.
It means we are letting God direct our steps.
Because HE wants us to GROW and CHANGE.

HE wants us to be so beautiful with our colorful petals that other sprouts and seedlings will look at us and want to GROW too.
Cause when we let God lead us in our GROWTH, we are magnetic in our beauty.

It's not a "look at me and how far I've come" kind of beauty.
It's not even an "I've worked so hard to get here" kind of beauty.

It's a "by His grace, for His glory" kind of beauty.




GOD breathed His life into me, watered me with His love, and warmed me with His touch.
I can't take any credit for where I am or who I have become.
It's all because of Jesus.

So this year, 2015, be intentional in your goals, priorities, and steps.
But don't forget the only ONE who can get you to your intended destination.

Ask Him to lead you in your GROWTH this year.
Surrender your plans to the ultimate Plan-maker and watch as God blooms in you.

It's not just about what we are becoming...it's also about what those around us are becoming.
When you bloom, they will too.



Let's be magnetic in our beauty this year....
And GROW in the grace and glory of our loving Saviour, Jesus.

"We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand - out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory,
standing tall and shouting our praise."
Romans 5:2 (msg)
 
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Light

Are you trying to find the Light?
It can easily be seen by some but others have to look for it.


Maybe you're in the dark and you can't find the light switch on the wall. 
You're just stumbling around the room hoping to feel your way in the right direction.
You are trying to escape your circumstances but nothing seems to be working.
You know what?

God is with you in the dark.


Maybe you're in the dark because you are blinded by your problems.
You can't see the light because your situation is blocking it from shining through.
Every time you take two steps forward something happens to push you three steps back.
Did you know?

God is with you in the dark.


Maybe you're in the dark because you chose to be.
The blackness of the night lured you in and you got so used to night vision that you forgot what it was like to see during the day.
You want to leave the toxic familiarity of your circumstances but are afraid that the light will draw attention to your flaws.
Can you believe?

God is with you in the dark.



So many of you are suffering in silence because of the darkness in your lives.
Addiction, illness, depression, abuse, etc....these things represent the DARK.

They will consume you if you let them.
Please don't let them.
The key to overcoming doesn't come in a pill bottle.
Victory isn't a drink away.


The way out of the dark is simple.
His name is Jesus.
And He doesn't belittle you, embarrass you, or shame you into following His light.

He just loves you.
Right where you are.

Cause you see,
"At night I’m immersed in the light!

It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to You."


Monday, October 20, 2014

Brave the Deep

A part of me has always wanted to go scuba diving in the ocean.


To see the beautiful array of coral and fish
To play with the friendly dolphins
To experience the underwater world


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But my desire to venture into the depths has been largely overshadowed by my fear of what lies beneath.


I could run out of air and drown.
SHARKS!!!  (Isn’t that reason enough?)
The water pressure could crush me.
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Yeah, yeah, I know. Those excuses have about a 3% chance of happening. 
But, c’mon, that’s still a very real possibility.


And I don’t typically do things that I’m not sure 100% sure are going to work out.


Do you?
Personally, I like to play it safe.


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But, I have been feeling a slight nudge in my Spirit lately to go deeper.
You know what I mean.
Like God is saying, “ You are living too safe. I have so much more for you. Jump in . Dive down. I want you to throw off your fears and live reckless with your faith. BRAVE THE DEEP."

I’ve never been what one might call the “brave” type.
I like my life in definite terms. My future to be clearly outlined.

Give me a set of rules, a list of objectives, something concrete...and I’ll  gladly come along.
But to move with the wind of the Spirit, not sure where He might lead me...that’s just plain scary.


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Do you know what SCUBA stands for?
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus


An oxygen tank allows the person to breathe, explore, and swim around freely in the aquatic atmosphere.
I find this such a great analogy for the Christian life.


With Jesus we can move around with freedom in unfamiliar territory.
We have our own breathing machine….the breath of Jesus...to keep us from drowning.
We have access to the source of life...the only way to live without fear...at all times.


He is our Scuba tank!
When I recognize that my ability to brave the deep is not dependent on how much I can do on my own but on the very presence of Jesus Christ living within me, then I feel empowered to conquer this fear.


I can go beyond my very real and very daunting limits by allowing the Holy Spirit to navigate the waters for me.
He wants to take us to a deeper level of trust and intimacy with Him.
But we have to let go of our fear...and allow Him to be our oxygen tank.

















Unlike the physical tank that Scuba divers use, the breath of Christ is always available...it never runs out.
He can keep us from crumbling under the pressure of a rapidly changing environment.
He can keep us from being eaten alive by the sharks of social media, negativity, or unforeseen circumstances.
He can keep us from drowning due to personal lack or insecurity or past mistakes.


Because He is the breath of life, the conqueror of fear, the never-changing One.


What are you waiting for?
This is your chance to go somewhere you've never been before.

Let God lead you into uncharted waters.
Let's brave the deep together.




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mountains and Memories

Growing up, my family would visit the mountains around Thanksgiving every year. 
I loved the sights and smells of it all.
Crisp air and crunchy leaves were like a warm blanket around my soul. 
They comforted me.  




Now, every year around Autumn I long for the mountains. 
I remember those trips with fondness and a tinge of sadness because miles between my family and I have prevented them from continuing on. 
Personal loss of precious family members has caused those memories to be bittersweet as well. 





There is a longing in my heart that will always be conjured up when the seasons start to change and the cool winds start to blow. 
And I get lost in thought of what used to be...what once was...and why it has to be different now. 

That type of thinking is hard to overcome this time of year.
It threatens my joy as if it were an avalanche lurking over my head just waiting to consume me. 
No air. No way out. 

Have you ever felt this way before? 
Like you just feel suffocated by what used to be? 
Like you can't breathe in new air because you're choking on the old air?






Let me encourage you today, friend.
Seasons change. They come and go. 
It will eventually warm up again.
The leaves will gradually fade into the earth. 
God made it this way on purpose. 

But what will we miss out on if our focus is on yesterday or tomorrow instead of today? 
If we are looking for a way out (physically or emotionally) instead of learning from the season we're in, do we really get anywhere? 

Here's what today offers: 
Colorful landscapes
Invigorating wind gusts
Crunchy leaves to jump in




I know for me, it is hard to see past the pain sometimes because once it's triggered, it wants to linger.
But I'm learning that the triggers will always be there. 
The pain will come out when I least expect it. 
And I have to make a choice. 

Do I dwell in that place of loss and let it overwhelm me?
Or do I let the pain carry me to a place of gain as I recognize the moment for what it is? 

Fleeting
Passing too quickly
Here today, gone tomorrow

Yes, I am grateful that seasons change. 
But I'm more grateful that they change ME.

I never want to go back and be who I was.
I'm always learning, growing, becoming...

So are you. 

And while I miss some things about yesterday, and while it hurts like hell some days, I am so glad I am who I am today. 




So, let yourself feel the pain of yesterday as the fall air blows hard outside your door. 
Then make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit on the front porch, and feel the moment of change you're in right now. 

It only happens once. 
And you don't want to miss it. 




"For everything there is a season,
  a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-4



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A New Song to Sing



I want to be a singer of new songs.

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A new song can’t be kept in.
It has to burst out and be heard.
What it says is relevant and important ...right now.
For you and others.

 
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A new song isn’t just a silly poem.
It’s full of life and liberty.
It beckons for people to listen.
It has to be released.

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A new song brings change to the atmosphere.
It has an inviting personality.
It isn’t negative or humdrum.
It begins, starts, initiates, a happy dance.


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A new song marks a new beginning.
It says “This is a new day.”
It causes movement in our bodies and souls.
Others listen and join in.


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What in your life is asking for you to sing?
Where do you need healing?
What feels trapped and is begging to be uncaged?
Are you desperate for breakthrough?


Sing, my friend.
Just sing a new song.


Sing out of your pain until you can feel peace.
Sing in the darkness until you can see the light.
Sing for your freedom! Sing for your joy!
Just sing.

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Paul and Silas were beaten and then imprisoned in chains...but they didn’t give up hope…. they sang!
King Jehosophat’s soldiers were facing an overwhelming army of enemies...but they didn’t fight….they sang!
Mary was young, single, and miraculously carrying the son of God….but she didn’t worry about what other people might think...she sang!


It’s no coincidence to me that these examples all resulted in the same thing…..
a mighty display of God’s power on this earth!

Paul and Silas' songs to heaven caused an earthquake that broke off their chains!
God used the army of Judah’s praise and worship to ambush the enemy and defeat them!
Mary's song of thanksgiving to God gave her hope as she went through her pregnancy and eventually gave birth to the Savior of the world!

















Find your song and give it a name.
Claim God’s promises and set them to a tune.
You’ll be amazed at the freedom that will come.


Let’s give God the glory for all He has done in our lives today.
And sing a new song about it!  
 



“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.”- Psalm 40:3