Invest in the Ordinary

We did it girls! We survived.

Survived dance recitals

Graduations

Open houses

Field day

Class parties

Holiday weekend and

I survived car shopping..

We decided upon a 2013 charger. I may be having a mid mom crisis I was thrilled about how non momesque it is!

Sometimes life is about surviving, putting one foot in front of another and making it across the finish.

But I don’t think that is the plan God has for us. He gave us the Holy Spirit to bolster us when we are weary. He provided his word to rejuvenate our tired muscles. Even in the waiting he doesn’t intend for us to only plod along. There is joy to find in the ordinary waiting.

I write this boldly to myself because I have found myself struggling with envy and plodding through the ordinary. I see young women being appointed by the Lord to step into ministry roles and I compare. I see my waiting to mean not needed. I see my blog as not enough. I see my 34 years and still not a clue of what I want to do when I grow up as partial failure.  I know, I know it’s my season, it’s not without purpose. The rational portion of my brain knows these things. The midnight laying awake portion of my brain likes to argue! And to have the same argument over and over!

How do we combat these thoughts because please tell me I’m not laying awake at midnight arguing with myself alone.

How do we run our race well, so that when we cross the finish line we hear well done good and faithful servant.

In the ordinary waiting that is life we must see the beauty.

The ordinary waiting that is life we must see the beauty | Me, Coffee & Jesus
The laughter that fills a new car on its first road trip.
The twinkle in our sons eye because he is so thrilled to now be taller than mom.
The giggle of your daughter as you tell her stories from when she was a baby as you enjoy your scrapbooks together.
The joy of nieces and nephews being chased by their big cousin.
The smile of your friend across the table.
The smell of coffee and conversation with your bible study girl.
The new life of flowers.
The smile lines around your husbands eyes as he tells another goofy joke just to see you smile.
The utter enjoyment of your daughter experiencing the elegant chocolate shop, with pinkies up, drinking ice water, and eating amazing cheesecake.
The delight of reaching the end of an amazing book.
Watching a bride and groom exchange shaky vows and loving glances as their lives change and intertwine.

We have to look before our waiting so we don’t miss life. We must not live for the one day or someday and we must start investing in today.

Cultivate a friendship.
Play a game with your kiddo.
Go for coffee.
Go on a date.
Celebrate the little moments.
Hug intentionally.
Be kind when you want to be grouchy.
Open a book.
Eat a fancy chocolate

Enjoy the life you’ve been given, don’t focus so intently on the big picture goals you miss the little relationship moments.

Deeper meaningful relationships are what the Jesus life is about. What would Jesus’s ministry have looked like if he had not used the ordinary waiting of life. He on several occasions didn’t want those who experienced his miracles to tell anyone else. He wanted to stay in the ordinary as long as possible so he could grow deeper in relationship with his tribe. He needed to prepare and teach them for what was coming.

Invest in the ordinary. Invest in your tribe. | Me, Coffee & Jesus

Invest in your tribe.

Invest in your ordinary.

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Jumping On, Finding Focus

Do you remember when you were a kid and raced to the merry-go-round at recess? That was my favorite recess past time. Running as fast as my little legs would go, dirt kicking up behind me, sweaty hands griping the rails and then…….

J U M P!

Jumping onto the platform to ride surfer style. As I rode until it came to a slow stop, my eyes continued to spin. I knew I needed to step down and find my balance so I could start again. I would continue this until a rut was worn into the ground from all of my running.

 

Isn’t this how we can live our lives?

 

We are running hard after a goal, we jump on to ride just a bit and the next thing we know the world is spinning and it seems impossible to see the path we need to continue on. It is easy to get stuck running around and around and then jumping back on. That’s where I’ve found myself, running, digging myself into a rut and losing focus.

 

Losing focus on my calling.

Losing focus on my dream.

Losing focus on what God says is for now.

 

Look to him | Me, Coffee & Jesus

 

The rut starts innocent until it gets harder to jump out of and up onto the platform. My platform that is for the now is my family, bible study both personal and with friends, and my little blog. We see our now as a rut, God sees our now as practice and obedience. I see running and jumping as tiresome and unnecessary, God sees it as endurance and being faithful to what he has given me.

 

I have been unfaithful and disobedient because I viewed life as a rut instead of the beauty that God has blessed me with. I have been impatient and less than nurturing with my kids. I have been absent from more days of bible study than I care to admit to you (but God knows :/ ) I have been intentionally silent here on the blog and all of my social media.

 

I must break the lie of: “life is a rut” that I’ve allowed myself to believe. I have to trust the growth process. I have to trust that God has made it clear to me more than once (more than twice) in the last 4 years that my focus and job is raising children and studying his word. It is so so easy to think I’m ready to jump and miss the step of tying your shoe only to fall flat on your face. I talked last in my vlog post about applying for a ministry position, sure I was going to get it only to be told no. While no is hard and a little part of me is still pouting about it, I know that God kept me from tripping over my shoelaces and has lessons for me to learn before that jump!

He keeps from tripping | Me, Coffee & Jesus

So girls, if your like me and you have big God-sized dreams and it doesn’t feel that you are chasing them fast enough, remember God has a plan and path of growth perfectly designed for you to walk.

 

If you’re over on the swings and life is feeling pretty up and down and you think the merry go round looks pretty sweet, I promise running in circles can look fun, but it is as hard as pumping your legs on those swings! How about we just promise to nod to one another and say a prayer for strength and endurance for where the other one is.

 

This week I challenge you to join me in taking a breath and savoring where you are right now. This spot in life has so much to soak in. And don’t forget to say a prayer for the girl across the playground. Even if it looks like she’s having fun and life is perfect, it’s never without its own rocks that end up in your sandal.

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The Parable I’ve Always Hated

My least favorite parable for as long as I can remember has been the prodigal son. It has always made me angry at what I considered an injustice. It doesn’t seem fair to live as the “good” son. I find myself on that side of the fence because I’ve always felt I fell into the good son category. I came to accept Christ at age 14, after going to church for a few months with my Aunt Kay. I immediately felt a passion to know and share Jesus. I organized a youth rally with very limited adult help by age 16. I have never partied, been drunk, or done what we often consider living a sinful life.

 

After getting married we witnessed happenings within the church body that made us decide we weren’t going to attend. We lived life away from a church for five years, but still held Christ values and lifestyle. I don’t tell you this to make myself sound sinless by any means. I promise I am quick to judge, quick to anger at times, impatient and bossy. As I’ve always felt about the good son, he wasn’t perfect he just didn’t run off to live irresponsible and totally for himself.

 

This is why I’ve always found a parable of a son who was greedy, selfish, a partier and living only for fleshly desires alone pretty darn unfair.

 

It ticked me off honestly. Why does the guy who was a complete jerk (with a capital J) get a huge party, the nicest of robes, jewelry and the best steak of his life? While the other brother, who had stayed, serving and helping his father for years dedicating himself to the work his father has for him gets none of it. There was no party. No public recognition. No filet mignon for him to feast on. No praises of his steadfast work and servant hood. No songs were sung.

our economy isn't gods economy

In verse 31 of Luke 15, the father tells the good son when he got angry “that everything I [the father] have is yours [the good son]”. To me that has sounded like a pat on the hand saying, oh, now don’t be like that. I’ll tell you what I think you want to hear so you stop whining and feeling sorry for yourself. I will say I didn’t like the sons angry response but I could relate.

 

Yes, you can tell me think I’m a terrible bible teacher, but this has been how I’ve felt for years. I didn’t want to read about it or hear a sermon on it because it always ended in me rolling my eyes. I just couldn’t get it to fit my picture of what fairness looked like. I know it’s terrible but I’m keeping it real for you!

 

Until, oh yes there is an until, last Sunday. You all remember my temper tantrum – yikes. You gave me so much love last week after I confessed my ugly wretched heart out to you and I love each one of you so much for it! Last Sunday while singing the name of Jesus, tears streaming down my face, I heard a voice that sounded like my own, but my voice would not have said this. A voice that said “see this is why the lost son was welcomed back.” You were the lost son filled with doubts, anger and an unwillingness to turn to me. My justice works like grace.

God's justice looks like grace

I finally got it. We are all the lost son, no matter how long we serve him. How we dedicate ourselves to shining His love. We are all dirty. We all roll around in the filth of wanting our own way. When we get up out of the dirt and walk home hanging our heads, he runs to meet us. He covers us with His robe. We feast again at His table. The Lord loves the dirty and lost. It isn’t fairness, it is love. It isn’t justice, it is grace.

 

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This weeks featured blogger is Angela with her post Do You Feel Disqualified? I’m pretty sure we all are going to relate to this gem!

 

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His Plan Alone

Hi Girls! I wanted to say thank you to all those who entered my birthday contest and sent me birthday love (I’m going to tell myself that you sent love because you love me not because I bribed you!) Sarah was the lucky winner and I emailed her a bit ago. Sarah be sure to check your email, I want you to be blessed with your copy of God Is Able! 

 

This week, amidst the birthday celebration here, I found myself along with my community wrestling through a really tough week. We as a community found ourselves rocked to our very core. I landed in a spot of really questioning God, I don’t think I was alone in that spot. I questioned the very existence of a God I love so much. Questioning His way for man. Questioning His purpose of earth, if he wanted to create beings why not just create us into heaven.

Why is there pain?

Why tragedy?

Why loss?

Why unfairness?

Why do some live with nothing, some eek by and some have more than they know what to do with?

Why do some suffer their entire time on earth?

It all can seem like a cruel joke. 

 

The reason for these questions, these moments of crying out to the Lord angry sobbing tears, is that last weekend tragedy struck our small town. A young girl who bravely fought cancer since preschool age passed away, after fighting most of her life, the battle ended. The same weekend a high school girl was involved in a car accident leaving her and another woman with significant head trauma and a young mother delivering a baby who would never breath a breath of oxygen. 

 

These events called me to question God as I sat on the floor of my war room hurting, not understanding and flat out mad at the unfairness this world offers. In that moment with tears streaming down my face, washing more make up off with each rivulet, I knew to open to Isaiah 41 and to read to the end of the chapter. That one chapter gave me a peace for every question, every angry fist shake. 

 

It caught my attention right away in verse one when it opens with “Listen in silence before me….Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak.” I had given my arguments and knew it was time for silence. As I read on, verse 4 says Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last. I alone am he.” This answers one of my whys. That He alone knows the plan. He knew the plan before the beginning and already knows the end of the plan.

 

Is it wise for an ant to judge the tree growing taller because it blocks the sun from its hill? No, there is purpose to the tree growing up taller. The fruit that will fall and feed the ant is just one aspect of the purpose for the tree growing there. Had the ant had its way, it would have missed out on the longer term blessings because it could only see the very tiny piece of the picture. This is true for us in the position of the ant. It would be unwise for us to judge the bigger picture only because we have yet to eat from the fruit. 

 

This is where faith steps in, my best friend and I decided while we sipped coffee pondering my whys. Faith that there is a plan bigger than ourselves and one event. Trust has to reign, trust in His provision that he doesn’t intend disaster but a hope filled future. Laying claim that he works all things for the good of those who love Him as Romans 8:28 tells us. 

 

He works all things for the good of those who love Him. | Me, Coffee & Jesus

The question still arises from my heart, because His word says have faith that can move mountains and they will move (Matthew 17:20) pray and seek me with your whole self and I will answer (Jeremiah 29:13) why not bring healing? With prayers going out for healing, why not heal a broken body? Why do two parents have to say good-bye? Why does a sister have to grow old without her confidant?

 

WHY??

 

The answer is the simplest yet the hardest to understand. An answer that I already knew but needed reminded of. We don’t get to and don’t need to understand. God’s plan is His alone and it isn’t our place to dictate the plan.

we don't need to and don't get to understand. Me, Coffee & Jesus

Our place is surrender anger and bitterness over to Him.

To pick up obedience of continued prayer and trust.

To seek joy from Him and the glory that is Him.

To worship Him when our heart is broken and bleeding from grief.

That is our position in the plan. 

 

 

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This week feature is Micah with her post When You Question Your Calling you’re going to want to be sure to read this! It will encourage your heart to keep walking into where the Lord is leading you. 

 

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Not Just Any Calling

Hello lovely ladies! I have been studying through Ephesians and I just have to share some great things that have been speaking to me. First I have to say I LOVE Ephesians, I think some days I could read it over and over. It is jam packed full of good juicy nuggets of truth and life applications. Yes, I know the entire bible is packed with good stuff but something about this book just grabs me and pulls me in!

 

Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians while in prison. He had spent 3 years with these people, loving and teaching them about the Lord. Therefore, when he wrote this book he knew who he was writing to.  He knew that this group was ready for some meaty teaching. He knew that after 3 years away from them they would need to be reminded of Gods greatness and need some encouragement to keep living for God. Maybe that’s why I feel that it is written to me! Those are the reminders and encouragement I need!

 

Through much of chapters 3-5, you get these verses that just take you to your knees with how good they are.

Chapter 3:12 tells us “because of Christ and our faith in Him we can now come boldly and confidently into Gods presence.” 

 

If you have been with me long you know those words are my jam! Boldly and confidently, the king of kings is saying come to me with boldness and confidence. OK!…(said in my best Monica from friends voice- you are my soul sister if you read it in her voice!) If He says that than why in the world would I want to be anything less in my daily living?

 

Verse 16, Paul is praying for each believer to be empowered with inner strength from His Spirit. “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into Gods love and keep you strong.” 

 

Uh, did you read that girls, I love this word picture. Christ settling into our hearts, growing our inner strength to live like him. This causes roots made of His love and goodness to grow down deep. These roots keep us strong. Oh, I know you may just need to read that again!

 

Chapter 4 starts out with Paul begging us to lead a life worthy of our calling, for we have been called by God. He quickly tacks on “always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other making allowance for each others faults because of your love.” He closes out these few verses with “For there is one body and one spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”

 

We are begged to live a life worthy of our calling. I have to pause just in case you’re having an “I don’t know if I have a calling” kind of day. If Paul is begging us to lead a life worthy of your calling, you can bet your best pair of jeggings that we have a calling! Our lives are a direct reflection of the God we love so much, while we all sin and most days we are so far from perfect we don’t know what perfection might look like. We need to choose who our actions reflect, God or ourselves. If they reflect God we will walk in our calling humbly and patiently interacting with those around us.

we have a calling

It seems to be an oxymoron to say be bold and confident in the presence of the Lord yet in our calling dealing with others, we are to be humble and patient. Hmmm, sounds a bit like Jesus if you ask me. He was bold and confident about whose he was, yet loving and gentle when dealing with others. He was bold with the truths he spoke while being gentle in his delivery.

 

I hope you find as much reassurance and hope as I do in that we have been called by God and we don’t just have any calling we have a calling that is to a glorious hope filled future. That is how verse 4 ends, a glorious hope filled future, let that settle over your bones.

 

While there are many days I question my calling – the big picture calling 5 or 10 years down the road, I assume you might have those same questions. What reassurance those words are. We are called, we are called to a glorious hope filled future.

We are called. We are called to a glorious hope filled future.

Sisters I pray this week you will be filled with His boldness and confidence. That you will have reassurance that while we still question, we have the promise of a calling that is glorious and hopeful.

 

I want to make sure you know that next week I plan to have a little giveaway in honor of my birthday!!! I plan to give away a copy of Priscilla Shirer’s “God is Able”. This is my one of my favorite books. Since I bet most of you have read “Fervent” but not this one I want to bless your socks off with her teaching on Ephesians 3:20-21. Spread the word, come back next week and comment on the post to be entered in and hopefully be the one to win!

 

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This weeks featured blogger is Keri of Living In This Season, her post Rest is a must read! “Cherish the beauty of the rest and let the hurry and hustle be a distant memory.” This is how we should be striving to live! 

 

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Obedience is Our Calling

As I sat across the table, not just once but several times, and heard the voice of women saying they just weren’t sure if their salvation was still good. They all said a variation of this idea, they weren’t sure if they were qualified since they weren’t one for consistent bible study and prayer and only had occasional church attendance.

 

I was a little sad and very impassioned to love on these women with truth. Truth from Paul in Ephesians 2: 8-10 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 

Paul is explaining that nothing we do can gain us salvation, other than a heart that accepts it. God didn’t want any room for boasting that someone did it better, faster or with more glitz …..you know us humans, we would make it a competition. Oh, yeah, the disciples already did that.

 

He goes on to finish by saying because we are made new we have a purpose, we have good things to do. In order to know these good things, we do have to be plugged in to his word and going before him in prayer. He wants us to do these things because he commands us to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:19. He instructs us to move from spiritual milk to meatier thinking so we can go.

Go and Make Disciples

There are good things in store for those who invest in their relationship with the Lord. Out of that investment our purpose is defined and treasures in heaven are stored up. To me that sounds mighty good. I want to move beyond a simple salvation and into a life driven by obedience to his commandment of love others and make disciples. 

 

I challenge you, if you are stuck drinking milk, turn some worship music on (the Jordan Howerton Band station on Pandora is the bomb, so do it and turn it on!) and spend some intentional time with the Lord. Start in the book of John if you’re not sure where to begin, be reminded of the greatness of the love the Lord has for you.

 

Obedience isn’t something that’s always fun or easy. My kids certainly don’t find emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash fun. They do find that being obedient in doing their assigned jobs results in being allowed to do fun things. While at least to me taking out the trash never becomes fun, the amazing thing about being obedient to get in the scriptures is it does become fun. Down right addicting even!

 

As I type the above words, words that I wrote in my notebook days ago and have been pondering since, I realized that these words are truly for me. The words on obedience are soooo for me! I have been missing here (I hope you noticed and maybe even missed me!) and part of the reason I’ve been missing is simple disobedience. Now I have made some really good excuses. I’ve been really busy leading a bible study during the time I was writing in. I’ve been spending more time in my prayer nook with the Lord.  Another excuse is I feel that I’ve somewhat lost my vision, I am unsure of my big dream so I’ve used that to be lazy and to just stay still.

 

I’m so thankful to serve a God that serves up big heaping piles of grace. That He lovingly reminds us of his love and his plans for us. That his plans are really just simple acts of obedience that he is calling us to.  Girls, do it today, act obediently. Find time to get quiet and hear what he is calling you to. Is he calling you to time with him or to be brave by sharing your story or to boldly encourage another person. No matter what the action of obedience is for you, don’t hesitate, be bold and act how the Lord instructs you.

 

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