Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I BECOME LESS






The farther I wander down the road with Jesus, the less room I have in my life for the stuff that doesn’t challenge me, call me out of sin, or wring me inside-out. I want to grow, even though I know it’s probably  going to hurt. I’ve tend to live in a comfortable cocoon, wrapped carefully (tightly) in the bands of scripture that make me feel warm and safe and comfortable, while conveniently ignoring the parts that squeeze too tight, sometimes even rejecting them outright, for the havoc their impact will have on my conscious. I’ve molded scripture to suit my liking, and lived beneath it, foolishly thinking I was living in the fullness of God, while feverishly trying to re-write my life in a way that wouldn’t cost me too much.

More lately than ever, scripture has grabbed me by the neck and wrings me out again and again. With every twist, I become less, and it’s exactly as it should be. I’ve grown in gratitude for the ways God brings me to the edges of myself. Not because I like it, but because it means I am closer to Him. I don’t love to surrender, but I love Jesus and the only way to get closer to Him is to let Him have His way in me. The only way to be full of Christ is to not be full of me.

Monday, September 26, 2016

EASY BAKE MEXICAN CHICKEN


INGREDIENTS
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

YOU DO THE TELLING

We don’t need another person denying her story in favor of living another’s. We don’t need another story to go untold because of doubts or swirling thoughts that someone else’s story is better, funnier, more interesting, or sure to make a greater impact.

The story of your life is yours alone and if you don’t live it, no one else will.
So turn your eyes away from the stares or the stats  and the likes and the follows.
While it’s true that someone could have similar circumstances and life experiences, no one can tell the stories that you have to tell because no one else sees the world in the same way that you do.
We need you to live and love like your story matters, and then we need you to tell it. We need your words, your stories that declare that God is good and God is God and how He plays a role in your life.
There are those who will walk where you have walked and stand where you have stood and they are desperate for your story, for your truth and honesty, for your declaration that God is there every step of the way.
Maybe your life is nothing like what you expected. Maybe you’ve been bruised black and blue, you’re drowning in the dark, or you feel too small to be noticed at all. Maybe you’re living in the in between and you don’t want to be there. But these days, they are part of your story. He has given you these chapters to live, He has authored these pages, and every single one matters.
He’s the One writing but He needs you to do the telling.
Tell your story here in the comments if nowhere else.


Friday, September 23, 2016

GLEAN, GIRL! OWN IT!

Our current culture would tell us that we have to go big or go home, that we have to be the chief and not the Indian, that we have to be the starter and no the backup. Whether we mean to or not, we sometimes send the message that we value flash over substance, that we prefer the spotlight over behind-the-scenes, that we crave fame over faithfulness. Just look at our girl Ruth, though. She wasn’t on the front lines. She was a gleaner, not a reaper. – Sophie Hudson

In the Old Testament, especially in the story of Ruth, when it was time for harvesting the reapers would gather the majority of the crop and then the gleaners would come behind and pick up whatever was dropped or left over. Each person had their role in the story and ultimately, gleaning showed God’s provision.

Gleaning today looks like faithfulness in the ordinary. Gleaning is accepting the idea of being small. Gleaning may be behind-the-scenes. It might be quiet.

Gleaning doesn’t pave the way, but it plays an important role in the harvest. It doesn’t mean that you’re poor or less than or that all you get are scraps and leftovers. Gleaning means that you trust God’s provision and are perfectly content to play second fiddle in the band — because you trust He is writing your story for His glory and your good.

Ruth gleaned in a field of barley. My field looks a little different. My field feels regular. Ordinary. Small. But it is the one He has given to me, the one He has called me to, and so I will glean.

Maybe yours looks ordinary, too. Maybe you are parenting your children, serving at church nursery, going to school, or taking care of your aging parents. 

Some will pave the way. Some will write words that you’ve thought yourself and it will go viral. Some will always seem just two steps ahead. But there is a place for the gleaners.

Glean, girl! Own it! Walk faithfully and work in the field you’re called to.


99 PROBLEMS AND CANCER ISN'T BUT ONE OF THEM


One of my dearest friends moved to another country recently. Sadly. She’s the overachiever, full-time working super-mom who always, always made time for me. She’s got a gift for making others feel important and worthy, despite her very busy life.

She texted me the other day, asking how I was. Adding “the hubs and I are having problems, but small compared to everything you have going on…,” to the tail end of the text. Implying that I am too preoccupied or overwhelmed to receive her complaints. As if I cannot care for a friendship when I apparently have too much to think about already.

Damn you, Cancer! Damn you for stealing everyone’s spotlight. You are not the center of our attention!

***

In the 16th century, Michel de Montaigne published a book of “essays,” which consisted of a series of writings wherein he attempted to discover the nature of the things he was thinking about. For Montaigne, essays were a way to think about a topic on paper; a way for him to hash out his thoughts about an idea or a topic; and a way to communicate those thought processes to others.

I am no Montaigne, nor do I pretend to be. But I guess I use this blog to journal my thoughts. And lately, I’ve been wracking my brain for a way to explain that cancer doesn’t define us. That illnesses of any kind do not define who we are. I want to help everyone make sense of it all: the struggles of dealing with life outside of a diagnosis STILL EXIST, people. I’m just as human as you are, with the same stresses you deal with: the struggles of raising kids, the challenges of marriage, the violence of aging; the wrestling with life…the fight with death. In the same vein, I share a lot of the same blessings: date nights, kids’ school accomplishments, job promotions, home renovations, new friends.

***

I’ve got 99 problems and cancer isn’t but one of them. I’m going through the motions of life; just like you. I’m still me. I can still cry with you, celebrate with you, laugh with you, drink coffee with you. I can still relate to what you’re doing and/or going through. In fact, my spirit and compassion for others has never been stronger. Friends, don’t be scared to veer towards the mundane details of everyday life. Let’s not give cancer that kind of power over us -- to cast a shadow over everything else -- there’s life that goes on. People need people.
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