Living in the Tension

Tension:  The state of being stretched tight or mental or emotional strain. That definition sums up what I feel about my life most days; a constant state of being stretched beyond what I feel like is humanly possible. As a wife, I live in the tension of being the best spouse possible by meeting my husbands needs without losing myself in the process. As a mother, I live in the tension of loving these little people so fiercely that I want to protect them from harm at all costs and knowing that my job is to prepare them to live in this broken world, where they are almost guaranteed to feel pain. As a Christian, I live in the tension of walking out what I say I believe on a daily basis. As a friend, I live in the tension of finding time to nourish friendships with a schedule that is borderline chaotic. As a woman, I live in the tension of finding the time to tend to my body, soul, & spirit without feeling guilty. As a student of life, I live in the tension of questioning what and why I believe what I believe about God, people, relationships & myself, while being open (and teachable) to new information. I am constantly being stretched…but it is in the tension of the stretching that I find myself. I love being a wife. My husband is amazing. We spend a lot of time and energy taking care of each others needs spiritually, physically, and emotionally. This is our relationship today… In the past our relationship has been extremely unhealthy. We...

Forgiveness & Justice

We are raised in a world where justice is demanded.  Even the secular world quotes the Old Testament by saying “an eye for an eye” they believe that this is the definition of justice.” We have theologies, mindsets, and political views based on this “justice.” Jesus, His life, and His teachings show us a NEW way… Jesus IS justice. The Lord has spoken to me for years about the importance of forgiveness. But yet, I still had deep down in the core of my being, a desire for this justice. Not His justice but mine. My belief system, although not intentionally, had been formed in a very rigid religious system that very much believes “an eye for an eye.” I was completely absent of GRACE, LOVE, COMPASSION, and TRUE FORGIVENESS. Because I had formed my small minded views on forgiveness around what the world thinks and not what the Man… Jesus taught. A wrong requires justice, it requires someone to pay… Of course, I didn’t realize I thought this way. We seldom do. Until our beliefs are confronted by this crazy thing called life. In a moment of darkness in my life, when I had been hurt more than I ever thought bearable, I picked up this book from Kris & Jason Vallotton, “The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness.”  There is a chapter titled “Justice Served.” The Lord used to confront the false belief system I had allowed to develop rooted in my need for justice! Here is a quote that rocked me… “The day that Jesus was crushed for our sins, He revealed the meaning of true justice. Justice...

Joy-full or Joy Impaired

Joy is important to the Kingdom of God. There are over 180 Scriptures about joy in the Bible. Romans 14 says that the Kingdom of God IS righteousness, peace, and joy. Does your world, your home, your life reflect one that is filled with joy? Or are you, like so many other believers, a joy impaired christian? We live in the world and let’s face it, the world is demanding. We live surrounded with expectations, pressure, and demands for our time and energy. Most christian families are existing day by day juggling school, work, church activities, sports and other GOOD things. My family is no different. The pressure we are under to maintain our schedules is enough to allow the enemy to quietly come in…when we are busy looking the other way…and steal our joy. Do you feel like you are living life to its’ fullest? Is everyday full of peace & joy? Would people describe you as joy-full or joy impaired? From my observations the American church as a whole has “lost” its joy. Now I will be the first to admit that I know some beautiful Christians that walk in the fullness of joy… it’s just that I don’t know very many of them. The fact is that we have allowed pressure, demands, and busyness to rob us from our joy. The enemy of excellent is often good and sometimes we are so distracted by the “good thing” in front of us that we miss the excellent thing that The Lord has for us! I believe that busyness is the number one reason that most Christians are not...

Blowing Up Shame

Shame. It’s a powerful force. Shame imprisons people. Shame keeps secrets hidden. Shame brings on isolation, hurt, pain. Shame divides. Shame terrifies people. Shame keeps people from connecting. Shame causes sin, hurt, pain (etc) to grow. Shame keeps you masked. Shame is defined as: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another. Synonyms for shame include; humiliation, to mortify, embarrassment, chasten, to humble. In establishments of faith, shame often keeps people from asking for and getting the help that they so desperately need. What would people think if they knew… insert “shameful” behavior here? The enemy uses shame to further bind people, causing them to believe there is no freedom for them and whatever they are struggling with. We all know what happens to things that stay hidden. They grow and they combine forces with shame and the enemy and cause you to enter into a downward spiral. I am an extroverted introvert. Which simply means I have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. As an extrovert I love to meet new people (when the mood is right.) I love connecting with people. I don’t mind (and sometime greatly enjoy) being the center of attention, but my introverted side despises small talk, and favor connecting in deep ways. I am extremely introspective, and I think surface level stuff is a waste of time. Because of my make up and the fact that I get the privilege of helping women (and sometimes men) navigate through life and personal crisis, I LOVE to help people BLOW UP SHAME. I can, at times,...

Simple Steps To Enjoy Your Journey

Saying that our society is fast paced seems to be an understatement. Everyone is making goals and implementing fantastic strategies to meet them. Our children are just as competitive: because of our doing, sports are no longer enough, but you have to be in private lessons to make them more successful in the sport of their choosing. We are competitive, driven, and we err on the side of perfectionism. We have five year plans, ten year plans, retirement plans.  We have things we need to accomplish: books that need to be written, corporations that need to be started, schools we need our children to get in to,  and so on and so on. As a whole, we have become so focused on the future and what we need to be doing to get us where we want to be that we have stopped remembering that there is a today. A day that’s happening right now that we need to be present in. I turn 40 at the end of this month. I know this is totally cliché but seriously, where has the time gone? I have spent the last 40 years pushing to get somewhere… Somewhere that I am sure was really important to me at some point, but in the push to “get somewhere” I have forgotten to live my life, to enjoy my journey. I forgot to breathe. I forgot to play and enjoy this beautiful playground we have been given by our Father who loves us. I forgot to be present. I forgot to notice the daily gifts we are given to help us celebrate each...

Jesus In The Margins

In Matthew 25 Jesus says, “As you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me.” He specifically calls out those who are sick, in prison, hungry, thirsty, naked, the stranger in the land, and so on. He was talking about those people that live in the margins of society. The margins of society is the fictional place that we keep people that live out of the socially accepted norm, the ones that are overlooked, pushed away even. As Christians our hearts should seek to go after the people marginalized by society instead of pushing even more people into those margins. The people in the margins include, the homeless, the poor, the prisoners, the immigrants (illegal & legal), the old, the sick, prostitutes (although this has improved with the human trafficking movement), addicts…basically the people we would RATHER NOT SEE. Instead of going after these people, Christians have actually forced a couple more people groups “into the margins.” Labeling them, homosexuals, other religious groups (especially muslims), women that have had abortions, and more that I am missing. It makes my heart ache to know that the margins exist… and it breaks my heart to know that the church is continually drawing lines that make the margins even bigger! We have become desensitized to the value of human life. We see it everyday. Look at the way people treat those that work in the service industry. It is perfectly acceptable to never make eye contact with the people that serve you food in a restaurant. I got to travel alone recently and I sat in the airport...

Do You Love Yourself?

We live in a supercharged, sensory overloaded world. The amount of energy it takes to make it through the day is INSANE! Everyone is wearing a variety of hats: wife, mother, executive, teacher, PTA member, cook, art enthusiast, stay-at-home mom, career mom, soccer mom, taxi driver, lover, friend, counselor, leader, bookworm, student. This list could go on FOREVER, because women are known for their many job titles and the massive load of responsibility that each of them carries. So I have a really important question to ask you. It is a question that causes us to get defensive and answer with the list of hats we are currently juggling that become the very reason we use to think that we can’t wear the one that will truly help us ROCK every other hat in our closet! How often do you wear the hat of self-care? That was a hat that I didn’t even own for many years. I put anyone and everyone else’s needs before my own. Sound familiar? After my body revolted against me with a complete adrenal blow out, I finally took the hint.  It was time  I began the journey that I had felt the Lord gently nudge me toward a million times. I began the journey of learning to love myself. All parts of myself: my mind, body, soul, and spirit. You don’t have to wait like I did. You don’t have to wait for your body to just give out on you. You can begin that journey now. Looking back, I can see so many times when the Lord was trying to teach me...

Changing Your Perspective

This morning I took a walk on the beach. The sun was bright and warm on my skin which was a much needed contrast from the brisk wind that almost took my breath.  The sand was powdery white and felt like heaven under my feet. The water from the sea was crisp but it woke my insides up as it made contact with my skin. The ocean is where I feel the most alive. The most connected. It is my place. My soul is refreshed at the ocean. I am renewed. The last several months have been hard for so many people. The feelers of the world are struggling (we are feeling all the feels right now.) Our country is more divided than ever.  Instead of being used to connect people, social media has become a platform for debate and argument, which has led to disconnection. People are drawing lines in the sand… “What side are you on?” I have been occupying this strange space as of late. It’s a lonely space. I do believe a lot of people are in this same space but we have been quiet (for the most part). I have been sitting back watching the division worsen. People on both sides of the political lines aligning themselves with fear, anger, and hatred. Because of the fear, anger, and hatred people have become very close minded and unable to see things from another perspective let alone engage in healthy conversation. This morning as I was walking down the beach and around the bend at the end of the island, I walked up onto a large...

A Call to Love

I am very intuitive. I can usually read people really well. I can often feel their hurts, pain, and joy. It is the way The Lord designed me so that I can show compassion and love to His people. Yesterday, I was at a restaurant having lunch and our waiter (now be patient with me; I am totally stereotyping here) seemed to be a homosexual. Throughout our conversation I dropped the “J bomb.” When the word Jesus spilled from my lips I could see enormous pain well up in his eyes. The word Jesus means so much to me. Healer. Deliverer. Friend. The name Jesus obviously meant something very different to him. Again, I am making a guess here, but the word Jesus seemed to be affiliated with: Hurt. Pain. Judgement. Shame. We carried on with our meal and we were demonstrated kindness, love and we left a BIG tip. No other words were spoken about Jesus or Christianity for that matter, we just tried to SHOW this man love. I went to bed thinking of him…and the look in his eyes. The way he froze when I said the word Jesus. The way he quickly looked to his feet with what seemed like a veil of shame covering his face. How a heaviness came over him that did not leave for the rest of our meal. Every time he came back to our table he did so timidly, not boldly, like he did before I dropped the “J bomb.” My heart aches for him and so many like him. Now I am not talking about homosexuals here, although...

Tuesday Christianity

2017 is rapidly approaching. Like everyone else, I use this time of year to appreciate where I am and set new goals for where I want to be in the coming year. I know it sounds totally cliche but it is important to be self aware and access (and accept) where you are, celebrate how far you have come, and set new goals about where you would like to be. One of my (many) goals for 2017 is to help a movement be birthed… a movement of  Tuesday Christianity. Tuesday Christianity is a term I use to describe people that show up (even on Tuesdays), that care, that give time, energy, food, finances, whatever is needed; people that walk the walk. Tuesday Christianity is a movement of people that DO the stuff. The people that are TIRED of hearing about the best ways to do the stuff and just started DOING it, even on Tuesday; even when no one is watching; even if no one told them it needed to be done. Everyday I am bothered by the needs in my own community, let alone in this world. It seems overwhelming when you open your heart up to see what is happening in your own neighborhood. I intentionally ask God to show me the hurting, the hungry, the oppressed, so that I can DO something.  Even though I know that there will always be someone hurting, hungry, and oppressed. I can still help the one in front of me. I feel like as a whole Christians have gotten tired of being a part of “changing the world” type programs...