Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What's on Your Banner? A Call to Be the Love

My church, my sweet little church, we are studying the word together this Fall through an amazing life changing study called Experiencing God.  Ya'll it's a doosey.  It's a turn you upside, hang you by your toe nails kind of study.  It has called me into great joy, praise and reflection today as I was reminded of how much God LOVES me.  Let's all strike the chord and sing the tune "Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves..." I mean we know the words right? We throw the word love around like it's yesterday's newspaper.  "What this old thing"  is the attitude of the use of the word love.  "I love that dress" "I love Justin Timberlake"  "I love my new chair" and so on and so on until the word just doesn't mean anything anymore.

I remember the first time my husband told me he loved me.  We were driving, just down a random road and randomly he said I love you.   No man outside my family, had ever said that to me.  It is a most cherished moment in my life.  I have let it be known that I am proud to be a boy mom.  When my boys each said I love you momma the first time and even today, I mean seriously, it just takes my breath away.  I have a fierce group of women who stand by me, beside me, in front of me. They love me spite my crazy self and when they hug me and say I love you friend, don't you know they meant it with every fiber of their being!

NEWSFLASH! God loves you like this. Yes you.  Even if you hate him, even if you spew hatred about him, he LOVES you.  He chooses you, he calls you to him. (Jeremiah 31:3)  No matter what you've done.  NO MATTER WHAT YOU'VE DONE!   Wake up friends!  It's not about you, or me or that other guy.  It's about him.  His LOVE, his sacrifice, eternity with him, his choice. He chooses you, you need only bow your knee today to his prompting.

If you already know this LOVE (agape) of God, if you already have the grace from the cross can I ask you what you are doing about it today?  Are you being a banner of LOVE today, were you a banner of LOVE yesterday?  That world out there, they hate us. You know why they hate us, because we don't LOVE them like we should.  We huddle over here in our sweet little churches and spew hatred right back at them.  We judge them, we talk out of both sides of our mouths, we only feed them and clothe them between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We only LOVE them when they first LOVE us.  Believers, this has to stop, if we believe in the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38) then lets act that out.  If we LOVE God the way we say we do, then what's written on our banners? We need some more Hosea in our life.  That book is truth telling of who we are, who God is and who we should be.  Let's read it, study it, act it out.
In Hosea 11:4 it says: "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them."

Let us lead with cords of human kindness as believers.  Let us step where God has already gone with us.  Know his LOVE (agape) then show his LOVE today and everyday after.  It is so good in his arms, don't we just want everyone to experience that?
I hope you know this is self-preaching, there is no perfection in my words. I am reminding myself today to do these things, to remember God LOVES me and my neighbor spite ourselves. That he has called me in and then whispered to me to go LOVE the people.  Because we are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE is his loving image.

Go be the LOVE, for the LOVE.

Much Love,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Growing Things

We built a house.  Oh my gosh, it's been a whole process.  We live in our new house and I am head over heels for Ferrell Farms.  I have so much to say about all this, but today it's GRASS!  Today I am working from home and Farmer Adam has put me on grass duty.  He is out working and I have strict instructions on grass watering.  Sounds easy right?  Guess what; it's hard work!  Every few hours I have to go out and move sprinklers to cover the areas not being watered and ya'll ITS MUDDY OUT THERE! I'm a mess, but I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying it. (don't tell Adam I said that!)

What are you watering this week?  In life sometimes we forget to "water" things. We forget to "grow" things.  The last few years I failed to "water and grow" myself.  I gained 50lbs, suffered from depression and was pretty much miserable.  I wasn't working out, I wasn't eating healthy, I wasn't reading the Bible or praying or seeking a relationship with God barely at all.  Yeah, I was attending Church but I wasn't growing or watering my relationship with God. Yeah I was eating fine and wasn't a couch potato but I wasn't being intentional with the body that God made for me.  Intentional, now there's a word.  Today I am in the dirt, caring for seeds that have not sprouted yet. I am being intentional in my actions to produce the desired outcome, GRASS!  I am sick of being surrounded by MUD. I want green, silky, grass!  Grass is pretty, grass is enjoyable, grass does not make my house full of dirt!  Grass will grow if I am intentional in my watering and care.  You will grow, if you are intentional in your self care.

When I realized I was sick and overweight I decided to do something about it.  I stopped eating stuff that made me fat and sick. I became more intentional about my physical fitness.  I began to eat the good stuff and drink the good stuff and move in all the right ways.  30 lbs down I feel like myself again.  Through this process I remembered who I was made to be.  I am made to be a fierce and passionate woman, following hard and fast after the God who made me and the Jesus who died for my salvation.  Once I reclaimed that, I remembered that I needed to water it and grow it.  I reconnected with women in my church who I pray with weekly now, who I am in the word together with, we are growing we are watering we are getting our lives re-aligned.  These are the good things, this is the place where the mud changes into life.

In a world where people celebrate their destruction of life by be-headings and shouting out-loud proudly about their abortions, it's good to be growing something.  To be growing life, watering and caring for myself and others and even my silly grass.  Did you know an ant lives for 50 days?  Only 50 days!  Do you know what it spends it's limited time doing, working to build it's kingdom.  What kind of kingdom are you building today? What grass are you watering?  Or are you even watering anything?  It may be time to take care of yourself, the grow and water yourself spiritually, mentally and physically.  It's time to take care of ourselves, to seek God and to water and grow ourselves those around us.  So Go get it girls, crack open that Bible, fold those hands in prayer, ask him to help you, pour into yourself so you can pour into others!

Matthew 13- These are the words of Jesus
" A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let he who has ears, let him hear."

Go with God girls, plant yourselves well, be fierce, be FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made just as God intended! Grow grass grow!

Much Love,

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Changed For Good

I have written and rewritten and unwritten this post a number of times.  It's been a silent road of reflection for me lately.  My plans have been made to be not my plans. My dreams have been shifted to be not my dreams.  My life has been taken, shifted and returned looking completely different.  In May we met God in the throne room of prayer and he said go.  So we took in an orphan.  Not because it was what was good for us, because it was painful.  Not because we would get pats on the back, because people said mean things.  Not because this child would love us, because he hated us. But because God said go, we went.  We proceeded to have some of the highest highs and lowest lows we have walked through. There was so much good and so much bad that it became a roller coaster of daily uncertainty.  Some days I poured myself out into the ugliest text messages to my best friends.  They got to hear and see some of the deepest darkest parts of my heart.  It was the hardest.  Some days I prayed God would take this cup away from us and some days I praised him for the simplest triumph.  When it all went away, I begged for it back.  As the dust has settled, here are some things I have learned:

We are not called to things with the disclaimer God will protect us.  No where in scripture does God guarantee that if he asks us to step out in faith with him that he will protect us from harm. Sometimes he does protect us but his word clearly states "In this world you will have troubles..." of course he follows that up by saying "but take heart for I have over come the world".  Jesus is not talking out of both sides of his mouth here.  He is simply saying it's going to be hard, the world hates me, but I love you and we win in the end.  Here you will have difficulties, but in Heaven these will be no more.  Our call is to live in such a way that our lives reflect the light, there is risk and danger and persecution in that. But SPOILER ALERT, the good guys win! So hold tight to that! (John 16:33)

If you are not needy for Jesus, you aren't doing it right.  Ya'll i'm going to step on some toes today.  If you are sitting back comfy in your pew untouched and unscathed by the world around you, you may need to do some serious reflecting.  There are hurts out there, there are needs, there is famine and sin runs rampant.  If you are not shook up and clinging to the Lord for your daily bread sister we gotta talk.  Just months ago I was walking around with my sweet little Americanized Christian life "i'll pray for you" rolling off the tongue like Amen. That was not bad but not good.  Our lives should be set up in a way that we are dependent on God for everything.  That we pray for him to provide our words, our bread, our everything.  This looks different on everyone.  One mans needy is not the others.  When I pleaded to God to provide our daily bread it was not a literal bread to quench my hunger. I was pleading for him to provide me the spiritual fortitude and sanity to survive another day full of trials and uncertainty.  I have had times in my life where I have literally prayed for the provision of food.  I would encourage you to reflect on where you are in your walk. Are you needy for Jesus?  Is your life set up in a way that you are being extended?  Are you walking out of your comfort zone to be the light in dark places?  There is blessing in this neediness.

There is no perfection in me.  People would hear about our Fostering situation and they would either call us crazy or say what a great thing we were doing.  Listen closely here, there was lots of short comings on our part.  We are only human, the only thing good in us comes from having Christ in us.  The glory goes to God he makes beauty out of our weaknesses because he's amazing.  We should just be willing to give him the glory for what he is doing in our lives.  It is easy to become prideful, Satan plays that card out for us to use all the time.  On repeat in my head, this is God's goodness coming out in me, I am not doing this he is.  And guess what, when I tried to do it for my own glory, it was UGLY! God is the good. (Colossians 1:27)

Stop persecuting those who are stepping out in faithful obedience.  We have got to, as a body of believers, fight for each other not against each other.  When someone has met something with prayer, scripture and has even sought biblical council then who are you to question them when they are doing what scripture says to do.  Ya'll if you are attacking someone who is stepping out in faith in a call the God has place on their heart you may need to reflect on why.  Is it because you are not doing the same thing so you feel guilty?  Check what they are doing with scripture, pray over it and move on.  If someone says "God told me to kill this person" that does not match up with scripture and there may need to be an intervention.  But when a sister comes to you, raw from being up all night in prayer because God says take in an orphan and you fill her mind with second guessing and all the reasons why she shouldn't do that you may  need to re-evaluate your purpose.  God's word says "be fathers to the fatherless"  "take care of the widows and orphans". Why are you questioning someone who is answering that call? God calls us to do crazy things sometimes!  To be his hands and feet. Ya'll his hands and feet were dirty and scarred, what do yours look like? (1 John 3:24-4:6)

Love.  I've said it a million times this year.  Love is the only way to win.  Jesus won us with love.  He gave it all in the name of love.  Give it all in the name of love.  Be so bold as to love your neighbor gay, straight, stripper, preacher, alcoholic, porn addict, girl next door, whomever they are love them.  Judgement comes from God.  We are called to love, in that love there is a time for accountability, but if you are listening and leaning in God will tell you when it is time.  Love comes first.  I have had a hard time loving the parents of our Foster Baby.  I am actively wrestling and stepping in this daily. It's ugly, but it's necessary.  I cannot judge I can only pray love over them.  "The greatest of these is love" (John 3:16) (James 5: 7-11)

You won't always get to cross the finish line.  This is a heartbreaking revelation.  We are sometimes seed planters.  Sometimes we fight the battle but don't get to see the war won.  Often times that is the case.  The war rages and we are called back to the office job.  Adam and I were called out of our time as Foster parents earlier than we desired or planned.  Our Foster baby needed something we could not provide him and so his team of advocates put him in a facility that could monitor him and provide the environment that he needed.  We had no control over the situation and there were many painful details involved that I won't go into.  I am all the feelings.  What I do know is, we were called to this difficult, amazing, life changing experience for only a season.  It was a beautiful mess but we were seed planters and we were obedient. There is beauty in that. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

There is a favorite song of mine from the Broadway hit Wicked.  It's titled For Good. All the lyrics match all my feels, but specifically the chorus says "Who can say that I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you I have been changed for good". This is truth for me.  Because of obedience I knew what it was to step out and love the unloved.  Now because I know him I am changed for good.  My heart cry in this is that your life will be changed for good, that you will be wrecked and needy for Jesus too. It is there we will win souls and live out the true purpose for our time here on earth.