No Hypothetical Jesus Girl Here

I’m a hypothetical kind of girl.

You know, hypothetically I want to exercise.

Hypothetically I want to eat veggies and no sugar.

Hypothetically I want to be an early riser, read my bible before anyone else in the house is awake, and have a hot breakfast on the table (that has fresh flowers artfully displayed on it) upon the waking of hubby and kids.

Do I do any of these amazing things on a regular basis….NO!

By not doing these amazing things am I less of a woman, wife, or mom….NO!

You know the ONE thing I refuse to be a hypothetical girl on though? Jesus. I want to chase Jesus and what He has for me as hard as I can. Are you with me? No, almost Jesus girls here, ok? 

 

If we all say we want to be real and authentic Jesus girls, what does that look like?

Some of us would maybe say it looks like filling our bookcases with lots of books about Jesus. Making the only station on Pandora we listen to a Christian one. Others would say being in church every time the doors are open. Yet others would say it just looks like being a good person. What does Jesus say it looks like?

 

He says in Mark 8:34 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”

 

Hmmm, no mention of a full bookcase or which Pandora station to listen to. Although it does say turn from your selfish ways. We are all me focused, right? We all are focused on our marriage, our kids, our dreams, our homes, our schedules….should I go on…no, ok, thank you! Now I’m not saying you stop feeding your kids or sacrifice your dream, but I am saying maybe look and see if there is another kid you can feed or another mom you can help encourage in her dream. Jesus asks us to not be so focused on our agenda, in order for us to see His agenda. Yikes, Jesus just got pretty close to my toes there!

Jesus's agenda not our own | Me, Coffee and Jesus

When the rich man in Matthew 19 asked what good must I do to have eternal life, Jesus responded by saying to keep the commandments, but went on to say in verse 21, “if you want to be perfect go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

 

Well, no mention of church attendance here or of being a good person. Just if you want to be perfect then give up what you love the MOST and follow me. What do we love? What do we chase? Some of us chase careers, I did for a long time. At the sacrifice of my family and my relationship with Jesus. Then one day, Jesus, who had blessed me with my dream small business, said if you want more of me lay it down. But Lord I’ve worked so hard, I thought. This was my chance to be my own boss, to no longer have to work in an environment that seemed to create a bad attitude within my heart. I wanted more of Jesus, and what He desired for me to have, that meant sacrificing my desire to His.

 

Sometimes we can chase an idea. The idea of being a good person, a good “christian” can look like attending bible studies but never really reading God’s word. It can look like getting involved with as many volunteer opportunities as possible. Yet, when we allow the good to become bigger than the relationship, we lose the good of the action.  Because it isn’t bad to participate in bible studies or volunteerism but when we use that to replace truly following Jesus we’ve missed the point.

 

The teacher of religious law asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

 

Jesus here shows us loving the Lord must be the first filter of life. Then love others. The real kicker is he says there in the middle the second is EQUALLY as important. That’s the hard part for me. Because some days (uhhh, most days) it’s really easy to love God, but is so hard to love others. Loving others means putting them ahead of what we want. Loving others means being patient in the endless line of the grocery. It means slipping money into a struggling friend’s car without taking credit. It means putting down our phones so we can really hear our daughters story (maybe for the 10th time just today). Love, not the mushy gushy kind, but real love takes hard work and sacrifice. The closer we remain to Jesus, the easier it is to love others well. Paul says it best in 1st Corinthians 13:1-2 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. ….if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love other, I would be nothing.” Nothing without love. 

closer we remain the better we love | Me, Coffee & Jesus

Well I want to be something, I hope you do too. Although I think it sounds impossible to love as Jesus did. I find it reassuring that the disciples did too. They were astounded in Mark 10:26 when they asked “Then who in the world can be saved?” In verse 27 Jesus responded with the words that can be the balm to our souls, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Yep, it’s true we can’t love well, we can only love well by asking each day for the Lord to align our hearts to His. To remove our selfish focus and replace it with His endless love. 

 

So girls, do the impossible this week, love others so well that it could only be the love of God. Look for how God wants you to love better. Maybe it’s huge, like laying aside a dream or maybe it’s small like putting down your phone. Maybe it means doing what He asked of you, even if it means being willing to risk your heart on those who have hurt you or disappointed you in the past.  Love those that are really hard to love. Whoever you love well this week, make them say wow, how do they do that, because we want to be known by our love.

 

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Friend Sharpens Friend + Link Up

As I sat crying through Steel Magnolias yesterday, it gave me a picture of what I experienced myself this week. Friendship at its best. In the movie at the funeral of Shelby, M’Lynn loses it, she has just lost her daughter. It is perfectly acceptable to lose it, in the screaming, crying, mad as a hornet lose it kind of way. The girls gather round to support her and join her in the midst of her crazy. They bring laughter to the darkness, that is true friendship.

 

All of us are designed to live in community but women are especially designed to live this way, I know for myself it is vital. I am a ESFJ on the Briggs Myers personality test – 100% E (extroverted) to be exact. For me to not have friendships, meaningful connected friendships, would be detrimental to my mental health!

 

I have had friendships that were for a season of life, or were because of a job or hobby, as I’m sure you have too. I even have friendships that I cherish and I know I could lean on them if I needed, but nothing quite lines up with my relationship with two amazing women. All of these types of relationships are important but today I praise Jesus for the true friendship He has blessed me with. Yep, girls like you see in Steel Magnolias, who can be there in the yucky muck of life or the celebrations.

Friendship isn't about who you've known the longest. | Me, Coffee and Jesus

I’ve known Lorissa more years than Amy but God has cemented the three of us together in the last few years that doesn’t reflect the time known. As we have cried, prayed, and laughed together Jesus has bound us together as only He can. We have become the iron that sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) for each other.

 

We meet together each week on Wednesdays, it is a rare exception that we don’t, and this past week I showed up with my crazy showing. You know the grumpy funk of being overwhelmed, the enemy had been saying all week, “what on earth are you doing trying to encourage others for Jesus when you don’t have it together.” You better believe it that these two called me out. I spilled it and immediately they filled me with truth, it makes me teary just thinking about what a blessing it is to have two Jesus girls to build me up.

 

Jesus had the disciples, he didn’t just teach them but he did life with them. I’m sure that there were nights filled with tears and laughter. There were moments that the disciples let Jesus down and moments that Jesus confused them. But it didn’t matter, they were the iron that sharpens iron to each other.

As iron sharpens iron. So a friend sharpens friend. | Me, Coffee and Jesus

Who we surround ourselves with impacts the direction of our journeys. If I had shown up with a bad attitude like I had on Wednesday to a different group it likely wouldn’t have ended with laughter and a weight being lifted off my shoulders. It likely wouldn’t have had conversations ranging from family health concerns to secret dreams to laughing over putting our crazy away in front of others.

 

When we aren’t surrounded and being sharpened by iron we become dull and less effective in our lives, when we are consistently sharpened we can be used to our full potential. God designed us to connect and purposefully live out our journeys together. He is pleased when two or more gather together and invite Him into their friendship.

 

I know that we have busy lives as wives and moms, or maybe you are the total opposite as me and as an introvert, making time with others seems less needed. Let me just say, it is not! God created all of us for community and we all need to get out of our heads and be filled with the truth in the way only the best of friends can.

 

 

 

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This week I am featuring Rebekah of Faithful With the Little she shared about when nothing goes as planned. I can really relate to her post of trying to find time for my quiet time or just me time and everything seems to go against us. I loved that she shared the verse from Proverbs “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  She is so right even when we don’t think it’s fair the Lord has a purpose and a plan.

 

I am also featuring Bonnie Lynn of Espresso of Faith her post about how her dog curled up at her feet causing her to reflect at being at her Master’s feet really resonated with me. How she“yearns to be in a position of constant worship, with head bowed, because in that place, I feel safe, humble, ready to receive what my Master would give me.”

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Holy Grounds

Everyone needs a sense of purpose, a sense of direction in their life, well mine seems to be misplaced, or so it seems. Today I realized I seem to be going through life without a solid defined direction. I was thinking why do I seem to be feeling as if there is no intentional route I’m taking? I was thinking how after I closed the photography business, I did that in order to have more time for my family and for the youth ministry,I felt a sense of loss, sense of no longer being defined as a photographer. Then when last month I put down the youth ministry I had this sense of loss again, a sense of no longer being defined as a youth leader, a sense of not being needed by anyone. So I have been floating without a sense of purpose.

Then today while in the shower and I’m pondering these great reflections, let me add here that my shower is holy ground I have been spoken to and felt more alive with the spirit of the Lord around me there than even in church. So I’m in the holy grounds of my shower pondering this sense of empty, drifting when I’m reminded of this event I was at 2-3 years ago I was seeking the Lords confirmation of his intention to place me in ministry. Yet I felt his call was to just love my family well, my response was well I’m already doing that I want to serve you bigger Lord. So I continued pretending that His plan was to use me in a bigger way, then the fall of 2013 came and I decided that in order for Him to use me in a big way I better make some room so I closed the business. I did focus more on my family at this time and dived into the youth ministry of my church, after all my sense of purpose comes from my doing. I have to do, do, do, I’m definitely a Martha.  So this Martha did what was in front of her, serving and growing this ministry that was in front of her. Loving my family still, seeking the Lord for the ministry’s direction but fully focused on what to “do” for this ministry. Then 4 months ago God started to remove my grasp on this ministry, this ministry that defined me, that fulfilled this part of me. He caused such a strong stirring in me I could no longer be apart of this church. He grabbed my shoulders and turned me away, I didn’t understand how this was the plan, He was going to us ME. How could this happen and continue without me?

Today in the holy grounds of my shower I’ve began to understand, He had to strip me bare in order to be a Mary to show me that I don’t have to do, only be. I need to BE a godly wife, I need to BE a godly mom and most importantly I need to BE a godly Winter that sits at the feet of Jesus. My friend over coffee last week said would you have left your church and ministry if this huge stirring hadn’t happened? I said no way, that this church was my family, my best friends, we didn’t just attend we were involved all the way, Jesse plays guitar every service, we served the youth together, our kids have grown up there. Never would we have left, she said then maybe that’s why this drastic change took place because God had to get your attention and move you out.  For a week that has swirled in my brain, of ok that makes sense, but why, why would He need to take me out of this ministry, why wouldn’t he want to use me bigger?

Today it was answered, I was reminded of that event when I was shown the direction I needed to move and I didn’t like the answer. I wanted to do, I just didn’t understand the concept of Mary. The idea of sitting at Jesus’s feet, the idea of being Jesus here on earth to my family only. I have always been a big or go home kind of person so to me I want to live out Jesus bigger, serve Jesus bigger, yet today after nearly two and half years of being allowed to move in that direction the Lord said enough and I finally heard him. I heard just BE, don’t do, don’t look for a to-do list, don’t overlook the gift in front of you, just be with me [Jesus], just be with your family.

This seems so difficult and challenging to me, but through Jesus I can be Mary. Today I seek to only be. I will be with Jesus and I will be with my family. Even when it doesn’t seem like it could be enough, I will remind myself of the heartache of not following what the Lord asks of me. Yes good came out of those two and half years, because God always brings goodness, but what could have come out of obeying and being satisfied by the Mary mentality. Are you Martha or Mary-is God calling you to be more like Mary too?

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