RSS

Category Archives: On Purpose

The growing season

For over a year now, I have grown a deep affection for plants. The reasons and circumstances for this are a story in itself, and a subject for a later time…however, I used to absolutely hate them!

I could not keep anything alive. When my son and I did manage to plant anything, it either became food for the abundance of deer living in our parts, or just never bloomed.

Now, I have them everywhere. I am even known to stop and marvel at them on a walk.

My husband picks them up during trips to the grocery store.

My son has his own garden, that I enjoy watching grow on our patio or the windowsill. And I even like to watch them burst forth through concrete.

Those happen to be my favorite. Because it takes a heck of a lot of strength to grow in concrete, y’all!

What isn’t exactly my favorite is a plant’s “growing” season. It’s sometimes long. Sometimes dark. Mostly frustrating.

This is the season in which nothing is budding on those plants. You water and water but never see a bloom. The leaves are extra droopy. Sometimes the plant isn’t even very pretty to look at. And when you start to compare it to all those other plants? Those that grow and bloom without any fuss? Well, you start to want to give up on this one. It’s a dud. Not worthy of blooming. Just meant to rot away in its pot.

We are much like these plants. We have a “growing” season, too. And they aren’t all the same, but they don’t look or feel much different than that of a plant.

Maybe your growing season right now is in full bloom. You’ve been watered. Been looked after. Encouraged. The crop you are yielding is on full display for everyone to see.

Or…maybe right now you are planted in dry, parched land. Still trying to break through the hard surface. You are in a season of drought. Everything around you feels barren. Your leaves are droopy. Barely hanging on, and there are no buds ready to bloom in sight.

Maybe you are sitting by that big, pretty plant wondering what is taking you so long? When is your season coming?

Feeling like you are covered by a thick slab of concrete.

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rain in the fall and the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. James 5:7

God will come to complete the harvest. It may not look like it now while everything around you is dry. Maybe the endless rains he has sent; those trials that leave you drowning in sorrow, feel like they are never going to end.

Be patient. At the end of this growing season, you won’t have to look around you at everything else in bloom. Comparing.

No. When you look, you will see that “winter is past. The rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing of birds has come; and the cooing of turtle doves fills the air. The fig trees (that’s you, darling) are forming young fruit, and the grapevines are blossoming” (Song of Songs 2:11-13).

Rise up darling! You, beautiful one, are breaking through the concrete. In full bloom.

You, beautiful one, will grow in this season.

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Stay in your lane

Track practice. Track uniforms. Long (and I do mean long…) track meets. That’s our new life right now. For a bit I was unscathed by “sports mom” duty. Thankful for not having to drive to and fro. Or sit through my Saturday in hot sun, or frigid cold temperatures on a Tuesday night.

Until I didn’t have that luxury anymore.

And while it has added a new dynamic to what is already our crazy family life, I am thankful for this season.

I am thankful that she chose it, because it means without mom and dad nagging her to do this or that-she invested in it because it was solely her idea.

I’m thankful for the memories it conjures up of my own long (hours long) track meets. The thrill of standing at the finish line cheering your teammates to the end, even if they didn’t win.

Even if they didn’t win.

I’m even thankful for that. Because it has taught me something. Watching my girl run with reckless abandon has taught me something.

Just stay in your lane. And what do I mean by that?

Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life likens our unique purpose to a race. He states about our journey to fulfill God’s calling in our lives: “Don’t be envious of the runner in the lane next to you; just focus on finishing your race.”

And I have noticed something as I have watched my girl run. She stays in her lane. She isn’t looking back. She isn’t focused on who is ahead of her. She just runs, until she is finished.

And her teammates cheer her on until the end. Through the finish line. Because she finished. Not because she won.

And that’s the thing with these races. With watching these boys and girls run what appears to be the longest of laps around the track. You get applause just for finishing.

Not for being first. Not for running the fastest time. Not for using the perfect form to jump a hurdle. Not for jumping the highest. You are not looking at the person next to you to determine if you are better or worse.

You put YOUR best foot forward and you simply finish!

Stay in your lane today. Be it in a fast sprint or a slow stroll. Don’t compare yourself to the person who is faster, higher, or first.

Just run your race. At your pace, and finish. I’ll be at the finish line cheering you on.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 18, 2019 in On Purpose

 

Tags: , , ,

“Feeding” a different beast

This past summer I spent the entirety of my time off in a period of self-care and healing. Working on and loving who God had created me to be. Part of that was understanding just how much I was loved. Through that process, I spent a lot of time in His Word, writing down a number of verses that spoke to my identity in Christ.

Thirty-one verses from God to remind me how awesome I was. That I could flip back to on those days when I didn’t feel so awesome.

But had I? Had I used them?

For about 2 weeks now there has been this on-going battle in my home over social media, whether or not to let the middle have Instagram to be exact. In the same 2 week span I’ve listened to parents who have struggled with setting limits with their own children over media usage, watched kids seek attention in negative ways, and even discussed the ways in which social media makes them “look good.”

Then yesterday in my own journal I wrote this:

I’ve been very distracted lately, Lord. It’s been hard to find my center. I’ve been distracted by people. By work. By media. By the news. And when I sit alone in this chair, I can’t filter it all out, and I get discouraged by what I have seen and heard all day. It’s hard to feel like I am succeeding in Your Wisdom when I am distracted by all that looks anything but kind, but instead looks ugly and dark. 

No, I hadn’t flipped back to those pages. I had scrolled through Pinterest looking for all the right words to make myself feel better when I felt ripped apart by mean ones. Vented on Facebook about crappy people, and the need to be more kind, but had I sought truth from His Word? Had I looked to Him to remind myself whose I was? No. I was distracted by my feed. And when I wasn’t distracted by those voices and trying to feed my soul with feel good videos, I was distracted by all the stories of evil lurking in the world. Discouraged all over again.

I can’t make media go away. It’s here to stay. It’s getting into the hands of kids at younger and younger ages.

But I can choose not to be distracted. Not to reach for it to validate what I may be feeling in the moment. Instead of reaching for His truth or calling out to Him.

I can set the example at least in my own home with my daughter. And, yes…maybe even for others. Because whether they want to admit it or not. They are watching. And what message do I want to send? That love comes from Him? Or how many likes, hits, streaks (whatever), retweets I get on a given post?

That every time I have an issue or have something to say it needs to be shared? Without consequence? That is why I write. To remember. But not everything is Facebook worthy. Not everything needs to be said out loud. Or should be posted for the world to see.

I want girls to know their worth cannot be measured by the number of likes they get on a picture. That life is also unfiltered, unaltered, completely messy, and not usually a highlight reel. That bodies come in all sizes. Even “pint-sized…,” like me. And most of us, yeh, we don’t “wake up like this.” I want boys to know that they are more than a rating scale. That God thinks they are a perfect ten. Even the ones that don’t fit in anywhere right now. That it is OK, more than OK to be nice. To be a gentleman. To stand up for a woman (or a boy) being treated badly. That’s the kind of man I would want in my corner!

That is what I will be sharing from now on.

Unfiltered. Some days with no makeup on. Some days in my pjs. Maybe days my face will be tear-soaked. There will be highlights and lowlights. It will not be perfect. It will be flawed. Guaranteed.

But fearfully and wonderfully made. Molded and made new. Loved by God in all its mess.

Just like you.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Broken, Yet Beautiful, On Purpose

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Blessings in the midst of weeds

dandelion-1806772_1920

So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Dandelions. Those wispy flowers that can grow in the most unlikely of places. One which most see as only a common pest. A weed. Yet, to another a sign of joy and happiness in the dark and dreary mountain of obstacles in our way. A blessing for the one who chooses to stop and take in its overlooked beauty.

The dandelion is also said to be a symbol of perseverance. However, often in the midst of walking in the gardens we nourish as ministers of His word, we may lose sight of the beauty before us. All we see are the weeds.

Sometimes in the middle of doing, planning, and being the hands and feet we are called to be as ministers of His love and grace, it can be hard to see the lives and people who have been touched by it. Instead it seems all we have encountered is one more battle, uphill climb, or discouragement after another.

Enough to want to give up.

In my role as a children’s pastor, the fruit of all the seeds planted weekly can be tough to see peeking through that soil. When you can see the flowers sprouting physically before your eyes, having fun, smiling, and reciting verses and stories taught to them over the years, there are also times when it is difficult to see through the weeds of disobedience, disconnect, and complacency that plagues this garden, too. The weeds that grow around carefully planned lessons and programs to hopefully encourage them to engage and draw closer to God, seem to only grow taller among criticism, “should have done this that ways, and “could have done that betters.”

Some days it is hard to see the blessing over the weeds. Some days you start to desperately look for an exit. But, you continue to say “yes.” Be obedient, anyway.

And, I continued to be obedient to Him as I made calls, texts, and emails to schedule gift delivery again this year for our annual participation in the Angel Tree ministry. As I watched all the gifts trickle in. Saw them all pretty and wrapped in front of the tree. Ready to bless families of those behind bars. I began to see the weeds again. The calls not returned. The preparation. The work. The late nights. The discouragement of those who just couldn’t offer redemption. Planting seeds of love and grace I was certain I would never see bloom.

The weeds grew taller. I wanted to give up. Maybe even not sign-up next year. I couldn’t see through the weeds, and I needed an exit.

Some blessings can’t be seen over those weeds. But, you get up. Show up, because He says to. You continue to say “yes.” To be obedient.

You work in that garden once again, and finally you see it. The blessing. In the flesh. Standing before you. Blessing you.

As I reached for the gifts for those who had come to take them home to their children, I realized what stood in front of me was what I would have missed if I had stopped being obedient. If I had let the weeds stop me from doing His will.

Here was the gentleman we had been showing hope. Here was the woman we had been blessing through it all. Whose kids we reached out to each year. Blessing me.

Thank God He removed those weeds.

So, if you two happen to be reading this. Thanks for being obedient. For bringing encouragement to a minister who was deeply discouraged. For reminding me that His light and grace does shine through all those weeds in this garden. That redemption is real and standing here right before us.

You are the blessing in those weeds. Thanks for reminding me of the reason I continue to say “yes.”

So, to anyone stuck in a garden you have sowed, over and over. Unable to see your harvest because the weeds of doubt, insecurity, envy, and fatigue are too tall-I pray this Christmas you will be given a dandelion of hope among those weeds. That you are blessed by something or someone that helps you see past the muck. That encourages you to continue to say “yes” to God. To continue, even when you want to give up.

And, if you have been blessed by someone-return it. Show them the grace, love and hope given to you. Bursting forth among all those weeds.

“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back-given back with bonus and blessing. Luke 6:38, MSG

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2016 in On Purpose

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Keep on keeping on…

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past, and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.                                                                                                                                                             Philippians 3:13-14

Lately, life has been an uphill climb. Each climb up the path God has purposed for me has led to a face to face battle with some unexpected and unwelcome boulder.

Usually, these burdens come along once the climb becomes too smooth. Seems too easy. When all those pieces finally get put together, and everything has fallen into place. We get complacent. And we think all is good.

Not so these days.

One day it is the boulder of rejection. Hurt. Doubt and lack of faith in what God has called me to do. In my emotions, I want to quickly turn away and run back down that hill. Yell that they are all right. That I am not good enough. That I don’t know what I am doing. That God really did call some kind of dummy.

But, instead…I get back up. I climb the next hill. Keep on keeping on, as our youth pastor frequently says. I repeat these words as I climb that hill once again that God has purposed just for me.

And, then…here we go again! Another boulder. This time-pain. Crippling pain. Want to stay in bed all day pain. Ready to crawl under a table and cry out in defeat pain.

But, I remember my purpose. I remember my call. And, I get back up. Climb the next hill. Keep on keeping on.

Until another one comes. The next boulder. Knocking me down. Until I am helpless. Literally can’t breathe. I am ready to wave the white flag of defeat. Tell God that I just give up. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t get back up. I am tired of being knocked down.

I am worn out. I am hurt. I am dead tired. I just want my bed, and some sleep. Someone to believe in me. Have faith in me. I don’t want anymore boulders in my way.

I am done.

I know I need to lift my eyes up. But, I’m too weak, life just won’t let up. And, I know that you can give me rest. So, I cry out with all that I have left. (Worn, Tenth Avenue North)

And so I cry out. My God! My God! Why do you continue to allow these things to happen to me? When will things get easier? When will I sleep again? When will you remove these obstacles? Why have you forsaken me!

What a baby!

Didn’t Jesus cry out similar words to the same God? Sure, he did. Yet, he also climbed that hill. Carried a much larger boulder than I ever will. Suffered pain I could never imagine, and gave ALL of himself for ALL of His people.

So, certainly I can get out of bed tomorrow and once again keep on keeping on. And, maybe instead of seeing only boulders in my way, I can praise God for the morning sunrise that greets me as I wearily drive to work.

keep-on

For the kids that can look at mommy and know that for just tonight, mommy really needs a moment of peace and harmony.

keeping-on

Maybe this morning, the climb will be easier than yesterday or maybe it won’t, but I won’t be alone on that climb.

So God,

Let me see redemption win. Let me know the struggle ends. That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn. I want to know a song can rise, from the ashes of a broken life. And all that’s dead inside can be reborn, cause I’m worn. (Worn, Tenth Avenue North)

That’s my prayer. That I continue on this journey you have chosen for me, even though it may be one rocky climb. Lord, help me to see that you can mend all the brokenness that comes from all the shattered bits of my heart these boulders leave. I pray that I remain faithful in moving forward despite these boulders daily, and continue to keep on keeping on.

And, let us run the race with endurance God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 20, 2016 in On Purpose

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

That Brick Wall Was Meant to Be Climbed

hole-205448_1280

I am sure you have had one of those periods in life. When you are skating along and everything seems to be going great. You feel confident in the direction in which the Lord has you moving. Then-BAM! WHACK! You slam right into the makings of a brick wall. Or two.

A wall of defeat, maybe.

Maybe it’s a wall of criticism. Or self-doubt.

Hurt. Grief. Loneliness. Sin.

Regardless of what that brick wall may be, it begins to slowly tear away at any progress you have made. Making you feel that instead of moving ahead, you are now starting to move backwards.

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you the path to take. Proverbs 3:6

This is what I had been doing. I had been letting Him lead me. Allowing Him to show me the path. I had a renewed sense of passion. Of purpose. I had a vision, and a plan I felt in my heart was truly His.

And then…it happened. I hit that wall and started staring at all the bricks that stood in front of me. The bricks that wanted to prevent me from staying the course.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10

And, that’s what he tried to do.

See, all those bricks of defeat, criticism, self-doubt, hurt, grief, and loneliness are all the bricks that the devil tries to throw at you when you are headed in the right direction. The bricks that make up the wall that Satan tries to erect in your path to veer you off God’s chosen course.

With each roadblock, there is a brick on the wall which reads what Satan wants me so desperately to believe…

You are not good enough. You are not making a difference. You are not getting through to them.

Turn around. It’s too hard for you.

God has left you. You will never make it past this point now.

Just give up. You don’t have any other choice.

But, when those walls start looming in front of us, we do have a choice. We can give into Satan’s lies, or we can hold our heads high. Climb over those obstacles. Keep moving. Know that God has not left us. That He guides each and every step of our course.

With His strength and favor we can climb those walls. Chip away at those bricks. Move forward and keep going, no matter what obstacles lie before us, so that we can reach the glorious destination he has charted for each of us.

For the Lord, your God, will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you or abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 22, 2015 in On Purpose

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

What if Love is the Purpose?

“The clearer we capture the vision of our new identity in Jesus Christ, the more we realize that our deepest needs for security, significance, and satisfaction are met in Him and not in people, possessions, or positions.” -Derwin Gray, Limitless Life

I have shared previously how I have struggled on several occasions with my purpose at work. While I know that I am called to a different mission at some point in time, I find it hard to wrap my mind around the purpose for this current mission. While I continue to “make tents” for a living, I struggle with my attitude, with my ability to give Him the glory for everything in a given day, and to sometimes even seek His guidance in the midst of my tent building. Instead, I have one thing on my mind…

“Do we think God has given us the jobs we have simply to make money, pay off debt, and buy more stuff?” 

Honestly? Yes…

As I sat the other day sulking because I had been chewed up and spit out over something beyond my control? Yes, I am counting down the days until my next pay check. That reward that says this “tent building” means something. Some days my only mission is to get through 6 hours of work, so I can clock out, go home, and well…get a paycheck!

All while contemplating the purpose in it all. A purpose in what I do each day. A purpose to get me out of bed each morning. A purpose to get me through another day.

Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

Until I realize I already have one.

To be His child. To be His prophet. His Ambassador.

My purpose then is not in what I do, but how I do it.

Do I hide behind my office door hoping to cut myself off from the world? Do I sit and sulk because on any particular day I just don’t want to be in this particular place? Do I get instantly offended or angry over every little thing I consider to be a slight?

Or, do I show the love that God has shown me to others? To those at work? To those I meet in the hallways? Those that stop at my office door? Those that may be behind the computer screen of an angry email?

My purpose is to be loved by God and show this unconditional love, not only to myself, but to others.

“As ambassadors of Jesus, we see the entirety of our lives as His platform in which His kingdom is spread to every corner of the planet.”

As I thought all day about how to answer that one email, I remembered who I would be representing-Christ.

The one who endured far more condemnation and harsh words than could ever be spewed in a simple email.

Who loved me. Who died for me. Who calls me to be His Ambassador. Nothing more.

So today…in this place, my sole purpose was to simply be this: Love.

To send love and kindness across the lines of an email server to someone who needed it more than me.

And, that’s a reward no paycheck could ever replace.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Loving Others, On Purpose, Proverbs 31 OBS

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Kids Ministry Leadership

by Carolyn Burge

r e F o c u s

a ministry for transition

My Planner Life

free happy planner printables

thenotsosecretlifeofus

Motherhood marriage insanity friendship family

God, Sports, & ProWrestling

A journey through the life of an aspiring youth pastor, sports broadcaster, and possible pro-wrestler.

MIRACLES EACH DAY

Devotionals on A COURSE IN MIRACLES, A COURSE OF LOVE, and THE WAY OF MASTERY . . . with Celia Hales

Godinterest Magazine

Godinterest Magazine covering faith, culture, life and all that other stuff

Muffin Topless

A life dedicated to health, fitness & happiness

Hair Say

Hair: The Mind, Body, and Spirit of It

Arinuck ptl

Praising the Lord, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Having Joy!

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations.

Tales from the Mama Duck

Family-Life. Faith-Life. Mid-Life. Sharing-Life!