Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not Perfect...

Want to be, oh how we would love to be perfect. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to bed at night and not have any regrets for the day; not to have anything to worry about the day to come? Yes, some days perfection would be absolutely wonderful!

If you are one who has followed the SHINE blogs, you will know that the posts have been far and few between lately. One commitment made when starting this “ministry” of sorts is that there wouldn’t be a post made unless it was God given. And lately, there hasn’t been any giving. This could be attributed to distracting situations, or stress. The fact is, it just hasn’t happened.

As SHINE is in development, we will all be growing together. It is very important for you to know this is for REAL women and REAL women go through “FUNKS”. We all have days we just don’t feel it...or it just isn't there.

Also, realize that when we are struggling with the desires of perfection; being hard on ourselves; and letting ourselves find excuses not to be all we can; God is still at work in our lives. The most important thing to do is to remember that we NEED to spend time with Him.

FUNK or no FUNK, perfection or procrastination, depression or absolute joy...we need God in the midst of it all. Whether you FEEL like God is evident in your life or not...He WILL ALWAYS be there for you. He WANTS you to spend time with Him, even if just for a moment to cry your eyes out.

You may not want to hear it, but NO ONE is perfect. So give yourself a break and just relax a little today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What NOT to Wear

"Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense...

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it." - Colossians 3:12-14

I love fashion and design. If I am watching TV it will normally be one of the popular design shows like Project Runway, How Do I Look, or some other design show. Recently I have been caught up in the What Not to Wear craze. Can you imagine having $5000 to spend on clothing? Both of my vehicles together cost me less than that!

Follow the scenario with me... your best friend sends Stacy and Clinton secret video of you in, of course, your worst attire. Whether it be headed to the store, out playing with the kids, or off to work; no matter, you know it will be the busiest day with the worst hair and when you waited to put on your makeup until you got in the car. Of course, there was probably a rain storm and your hair is flat from the downpour!

They show your embarrassing video to the entire nation and surprise you on the street corner. Letting you know you are a bad dresser and could look SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL if they put their expert touch on you. And of course, you get that all powerful $5000 bankcard... who could resist that? All you have to do is agree to throw away your old hideous wardrobe. No problem! Right?

HAVE YOU SEEN THE RESISTANCE FROM THOSE PEOPLE?!?! In the end, they always come out looking classy and hip, with the latest most expensive labels (may I add), with beautiful hair and makeup. The new clothes are all tailored, fit just right no matter what the body type. When you head home, everyone waits to greet the NEW YOU and are marveled at the transformation.

Are you with me? How many of you are thinking... Man, I need that?

Well, God showed me a new WHAT NOT TO WEAR this morning as I was having my devotions. And honestly... I want to resist throwing away those old clothes, just like the individuals headed for makeovers. It isn't always easy making changes, even if they are for the better and you'll feel better in the long run.

I challenge you to read Colossians 3 out of the Message. Look over the list of things TO wear and think about WHAT NOT TO WEAR spiritually speaking. Prepare yourself for a spiritual makeover this week. I'll share my thoughts and some other things God showed me throughout the week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My "Blankie"

I have this blanket. No it isn’t the typical “blankie.” I have had this blanket since I was about 9 years old. My grandmother bought it for me for Christmas. It isn’t something I carry around with me. It isn’t something I can’t live without. And I can even sleep without it. But, it is my FAVORITE blanket. I seem to sleep better when I have it. I seem to be more comfortable with it than any other blanket or comforter in my house.

Do you have a favorite blanket, quilt, or comforter? I think we all can admit to favoring one blanket, even if we don’t call it our “blankie.” We laugh at toddlers carrying around their blankies, sucking their thumbs; but honestly, they have just found something that gives them comfort, something that makes them feel secure.

The bible talks about God being our Comforter. This morning as I was thinking about God comforting, I thought about my “blankie.” What an awesome picture! Can’t you just see yourself as a little toddler walking around sucking your thumb with your favorite blanket in your arm? What if we start thinking about God as that kind of comforter? What if we think of Him as something we always have with us, making us feel more secure and comfortable?

I never really thought of God as that kind of comforter before, but when I do, I instantly feel warm and cozy… just like I do when I have my “blankie.” When God is by my side, I sleep better because I know He has his arms wrapped around me keeping me secure.

II Corinthians 1:2-7 states it all so well. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
The reason God is our comfort is so that we can comfort others. Don’t just think as God as your “blankie,’ but think of how you can wrap yourself around someone else who is struggling. Maybe you can be a comfort to them as well.
I don’t know about you, but on this rainy day, I am encouraged to know that I will have my “blankie” with me all day. And the Comforter I am talking about can do way more than that favorite blanket from my grandmother.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Author of Perfection

As I have prayed over what to post the past few days, obviously, I have come up with blanks. So, rather than come up with some modern day “parable” or example of something to “drive home” a message, I decided to just share a little piece of my heart today.

The past few weeks have been a personal challenge for me. I have struggled. Not just spiritually, but in many areas of my life: finances, discipline, self-control, self-image, work…just about everything. I have sat and cried, went to work exhausted, and pouted of things in my life that just don’t seem to be fair.

As I was praying over what to put in the blog for today, I read something I wrote in my bible back in May. It says, “Forget about all the things that shouldn’t have happened in my life- God is in the process of rewriting the text of my life.”

I wrote that after reading Psalm 18:20-24 where it talks about God making life complete. What did it take to make it complete? Don’t we all want to be completed? Feel like we have a finished product for once? Actually know what the end of the story is going to say? What does it take for all that?

There are five things that scripture says happened in order for God to rewrite the text of our life. 1.) Place all the pieces of my life before Him. (Hand it over to God.) 2.) Get my act together. (Take personal responsibility.) 3.) Don’t take God for granted. (I think this means praising Him.) 4.) Review the way He works EVERYDAY. (Couldn’t this have something to do with daily devotions?) 5.) Open the book of your heart to His eyes. (Let God examine your life.)

It is often easy to look at our life and just complain about where we are. Depression sets in; we become dissatisfied with everything around us; we get cranky with out husbands and kids; work isn’t fulfilling any more. If you aren’t happy with the story your life is turning out to be, how about letting God take the editors pen. Follow the 5 steps above and really open the book of your heart to His eyes. Let God openly edit the areas of your life that need to be rewritten.

It isn’t always easy to face the things in our life that need changed. Change is hard. But God is the author of perfection, let him create a wonderful story for your life.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Is Your Pot Big Enough?

Yesterday I talked about growing pains and growth spurts. As I was getting ready today, I looked over at a plant I have in my bathroom. That plant has grown wonderfully; and it is beautiful. But lately, it is looking a bit rough. As I looked at the plant, I remembered what a friend had told me the other day. “You really need to replant that before it dies.”

As I was thinking about that this morning, God gave me some insight to where I have been in my life at times. I have grown to my full potential where I was at. There was nowhere else for me to grow. I came to the point that my roots were on the verge of being root-bound.

I have known for over a month that my plant needed repotted. I have put it off. I like that little pot. It fits perfectly in that little spot where I put it. I don’t want to have to go through the trouble of finding another pot, buying potting soil, repotting it, and finding a new place for it to grow like it has in its current location.

Isn’t that like us? When God has grown us to potential and then decides we are ready to be planted somewhere else… we resist. I like it here God. I know I can grow in this location. I don’t want to have to search for a new pot that I like. I won’t feel as comfortable in a new pot I have to grow into. I don’t like change.

Sometimes we have to make a choice to change. Change isn’t always easy. It means picking up and replanting ourselves. Sometimes it means moving to a new location we aren’t familiar with. Sometimes it means being a little small for the place that gives us room to grow.

Remember, a plan that is root bound won’t grow any more. If God is asking to replant you, let Him do His work. He is the best gardener around. If you haven’t seen any blossoms lately, maybe it is time to be replanted and let God put you where you can have room to take root again.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Growth Spurts and Growing Pains

Growth is so amazing. We have a tomato plant my daughter brought home from school growing in our sink. Yes.. in our sink. I am very lazy and haven’t planted it outside yet. So, it is in a tiny little pot sitting in our sink. It has been amazing to watch it grow.

The girls thought it was so cool as I would turn the vine away from the sun in the morning only to find it growing right back in that direction by the end of the day. It has been cool to watch it start to wilt on the days I forget to water it, then come back to life after it gets a few good gulps from watering. Today we saw the first few buds pop out. It seems like it just grew over night.

I could say the same about my kids. My son, now taller than me, seems like he has grown 6 inches in the past year. I guess that may have something to do with why it feels like he is eating me out of house and home at times. I look at pictures from just a year or so ago and wonder what happened to my little boy. My little boy looks like a man. He likes the idea, but mama isn’t exactly thrilled when 16 year old girls ask for him to stop by and visit them at work.

On the other hand, my baby girl has been crying at night. Her feet hurt and the middle daughter complains of her legs hurting. We all know of these infamous “growing pains.” I remember spending nights as a little girl rubbing my legs because the hurt so bad from the bones and muscles stretching with growth.

Growth does amazing things to plants, teenage boys, and pretty little girls. Growth also does some neat things to this mama’s spiritual growth. Funny… I have growth spurts and lots of growing pains in my spiritual growth.

This week has been full of growing pains. I have had to face feelings, emotions, and circumstances that have just been downright painful. I have had to “put on my big girl panties” -as a good friend calls it- and deal with life. Sometimes these things are spiritual and sometimes they are just part of life in general.

One thing I have learned is that no matter what you are facing in life, if you are a Christian, it is going to carry over into your spiritual life. What I have to realize is that these pains are part of the growth process. Just like I tell my little girl when she cries with her legs at night, there isn’t much I can do about it, it is just part of growing up.

I was enlightened about growth spurts too. Just like that plant in the window that withers when it isn’t getting watered. If I am not drinking from my fountain of life, I get weak and puny. But, as I begin to grow, I get hungry. I have realized that just as my 13 year old son eats and eats when he is growing, I grow and grow when I am eating from God’s word. The more I am feeding on scripture, the faster I seem to grow.

Growth is an amazing thing. It doesn’t matter if you are a little plant stuck in a kitchen sink, or a huge oak in a forest of trees. If you have the right water, food, and sunlight… you are going to grow! Sometimes that growth happens in quick spurts, and sometimes that growth is painful. The thing that matters is YOU’RE GROWING! Take a few minutes to enjoy where you are at in your own growth process today.