Check Your Blind Spot

It’s hard being a person, isn’t it? Navigating the highs and lows of our lives. Navigating the highs and lows of other people’s lives. Trying to eat the right things and abstain from the foods that weigh us down. Making attempts to bring more kindness into the world and then instantly losing that kindness when the person you almost hit gives you the bird. I didn’t see him. I just didn’t see him. I looked in my side mirror and started to get over. What I didn’t do was turn my head and look to the side to ensure that he wasn’t in my blind spot. Y’all, he was in my blind spot.  He honked and swerved and I gently pulled back into my lane. Knowing FULL WELL it was my fault, I was prepared to do the “I’m sorry and wave” reply to him as he came up by me. So I did and I included a silent apology when I mouthed “I”m sorry”. But he wasn’t interested in that. He was full on leaning across his passenger, yelling and giving me the middle finger. He showed me, huh? I tried to use it as a learning/teaching experience with my 13-year old son, who happened to be sitting next to me and witnessed the entire situation. I was clearly bothered by what the man did but tried to remain calm. I was upset because it wasn’t like I woke up that morning and said, “Let me see if I can try to cause a wreck and pull over in front of someone on Interstate 35! That sounds like fun!” Good grief,...

A Long-Awaited Drink

I live in Oklahoma and we are in a drought. We had half an inch of rain between mid-May and August. And when your temps are way over 100 because of the "Heat Dome" that has camped out in your part of the country, that amount of rain doesn't even scratch the surface. Our drought doesn't look as bad as the picture above, but nonetheless, what we are experiencing is a drought. So much so that our Bermuda grass is yellowing by the day. Our well doesn't have the pressure, nor the amount of water, it once had. Our landscaping is barely getting by and because of that, I thought, "The Bermuda will grow back. I better water the trees and shrubs."  A couple of days ago I gave them all a nice, long drink. I stood outside barefoot in a tank top and shorts without an ounce of make-up on and my hair thrown up in a rat's next, holding a hose as I drenched each tree, shrub, and plant. I thought about how they get a little bit of water every day but that about once a week, they need a nice, long drink. And then God spoke to me. Not audibly, but clearly to my heart, that my time in the Word with him this year has been consistent and good and healthy. Thanks to YouVersion I have read the Bible every single day in 2012. While that is good and necessary, it usually takes less than 15 minutes a morning. God spoke to me that at least once a week, I need to get a "nice,...

I Just Don’t Care

One of my dearest friends is 11 years younger than I am. She just turned 30 years old and is a terrific wife and momma. But, when I met her, she was 20 and teaching my oldest son in a preschool setting. She's in my inner circle, and I trust her immensely. Her name is Nicole. And she does not care. For nearly four years, my inner circle and I have met on Wednesday mornings for a time of encouragement, Bible Study, food and fellowship. Our conversations can stem from anything and everything. You name it, we've discussed it. Not kiddin'. We are tight. And one particular morning when one of the gals was sharing some struggles with a person in her life, Nicole said, "I just don't care." What was funny is that Nicole is very caring…always one to send a text to see how you are or to encourage you with her words when she thinks you did a good job or are looking cute that day. So, to hear her say she just did not care was rather odd. She went on to tell us that choosing to not care about stuff has freed her to care about the most important stuff. The old Nicole would get bent out of shape about the way someone was dressing their child or if they were handling their finances poorly. It got to the point that it was crippling her and that eventually affected her family life.     Today, Nicole is incredibly caring but she cares about the right things. She homeschools her children but doesn't care if you do or...

Forgiveness Depends on You

“Yes, if you forgive others for their sins, your Father in heaven will also forgive you for your sins. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 The Greek word for forgive in the two verses above is aphiemi (af-ee’-ay-mee). And in it’s simplest form is means “to send away.” So, if you re-read the two verses above with the Greek translation, it might sound a little like this: Yes, if you send away the sins of others, your Father in heaven will also send away your sins. But if you don’t send away the sins of others, your Father in heaven will not send away your sins. Wow, right? It’s not easy to forgive someone who has wounded you beyond repair. The last thing we often feel like doing is forgiving someone who continues to bring unwanted pain into our lives while we do our best to not reciprocate. I get it. I really do. I mean, if God said, “Forgive if you feel like forgiving” then that’d be easy, right? But He doesn’t. He simply calls us to forgive – no ifs, ands or buts about it. So, why is it so hard to forgive people when we know God has called us to do it? It’s because we’re looking horizontally instead of vertically. Allow me to explain. We humans love to compare ourselves to those around us. The problem and danger with that is that comparing ourselves to others always leaves us chasing a moving target. One day you feel great about the way you look because...

Fully Convinced Or A Little Bit Skeptical?

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  Romans 4:20-22 Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born. That means, that they conceived, did the deed, they procreated…they had sex…when they were 99 and 89. To say they were old is just being nice. The chances would be high that the “equipment” of a couple that age might not be working properly. Guess again. Yet despite all of the odds that were against Abraham, Scripture says HE DID NOT WAVER and was FULLY CONVINCED that God would do what he promised.  To waver means that one vacillates irresolutely between choices. Abraham did not do this. He pushed aside the fear and worry and doubt that {must have} creeped in to tempt him to believe otherwise.  To be convinced means one is brought to belief. Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness (Galatians 3:6; Romans 4:3). He was absolutely certain that God would do as He said He would. And He did. “What about Hagar and Ishmael?” you might ask. Good question. I don’t know for sure. All I know is that the Scripture says he did not waver. Was that before or after Ishmael’s birth? I think after. Ishmael was 13 or 14 when Isaac was born. You know that had to be excruciating waiting for the promise of God.  But he did. Friends, without faith, it is absolutely, without...

Grateful or Entitled?

According to Webster, if you are grateful, you are “appreciative of the benefits received.” The word entitlement means “belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.” When you receive something –  a gift, a compliment, an unexpected visit from a friend – do you find yourself grateful and even a bit undeserving of the love shown to you? Do you thank God for the gift of family and friends? Do you often think you’ve got an amazing life regardless of the circumstances around you? If this describes you, I would say you have a grateful heart. When you do not receive something that someone else has, do you get envious? Do you often utter the words, “I deserve that”? Do you find yourself always wanting, needing more? If you do, chances are you have an entitlement attitude. I have walked in  both gratitude and entitlement. When I put myself up against the perfect Son of God, I always walk in gratitude. When I measure my life against others and their successes/failures, I tend to walk with an entitled attitude.  Friends, we deserve one thing: eternal separation from a perfect, holy God. But, if we know Christ and accept His work on the cross, we do not get what we deserve. We get mercy shown to us beyond measure! That fact alone should cause us to walk with a grateful heart. Time to chime in and give me your two cents. I gave you mine! Do you tend to live in gratitude or...

How Hope Changed Me

Hope. An expectation of obtainment. To expect with confidence. I hope that I get that promotion. I hope that my children don’t get hurt. I hope that I find an amazing man to marry. Everybody hopes in something. For something. If they say they don’t, they’re lyin’. Just sayin’. I hoped that one day I’d find my knight in shining armor. I didn’t know when he’d arrive on my doorstep so while I waited for him, I made a list of things that I desired my future husband to possess. Tall. Musical. Loves Jesus. Sensitive. Funny. Respectable. Admirable. Honest. Trusting. Protecting. Handsome. I hoped for a lot. Finally, he found me. And I found him. We were smitten with each other from our very first date. Apparently, he liked me so much that, unbeknownst to me, he put a down payment on my wedding ring the next day. And ten months later, I got a new last name. American author Catherine Marshall said, “God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.” I had no idea how applicable this quote would be in my life one day. But nine years into our marriage, everything crumbled. Actually, it crumbled before that but I just didn’t know it.  My marriage died. So did my hope. But then, God. On the days when I could barely lift my head from the pillow, God gave me strength. When the images would come flooding into my mind, God gave me peace. When the pain bombarded me and suffocated me like a blanket in 100° weather, God comforted...

Let’s Be Like Esau

Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Genesis 33:1-4 When reading this passage, one might think, “That is so nice. The brothers are excited to see each other.” But the truth about the entire matter is that Jacob betrayed Esau in a mighty way. Jacob took everything from Esau – his birthright and his blessing. And after that betrayal, Jacob hit the road and never looked back. Have you ever wondered what thought processes Esau went through to get to this place of forgiveness? The Bible doesn’t mention how Esau forgave Jacob for his betrayal. We just know he did. We know he did because the first time Esau saw Jacob, he ran for him and embraced him. Esau was able to forgive him and not kill him like we thought he would.  Esau forgave Jacob, ran to him and embraced him before Jacob could even say, “I am so sorry for what I did to you.” Why can’t we do this? Why do we hold onto hurt? Spend some time today with the Father and ask Him to reveal to you anything that keeps you from offering forgiveness to...

Time To Renew

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 In Romans 12:2 the Greek word for “renew” is anakainosis and it means “renovation” or a “complete change for the better.”   I just love that. For us to renew our minds we must actually strive to make a complete change for the better. I can think of no better way to “renew our minds” than by diving into the Word of God. Not only diving into it, but allowing it to submerge our very being. When we fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, we will be changed from the inside out. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Merely “doing” something good or right without the right heart won’t last. We will find ourselves overwhelmed because we are trying to stay on a spiritual treadmill of sorts. But when we hide, treasure and breathe the word of God, we are less likely to walk in sin. The Bible is clear that there is power in God’s Word. In fact, we are told in Hebrews 4:12 that it is “living and active…sharper than any double-edged sword…penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” When you find yourself fretting over that thing you keep fretting over, encourage yourself by proclaiming Matthew 6:34 over your life. When you feel picked on and wonder...

The Depth of God’s Love

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17b-18 Do you have any idea how much God loves you? I don’t think I do either. I’m trying to “grasp” this love as Paul exhorts us to do. But, it’s not an easy task, is it? The other day I was at the pharmacy picking up a prescription. My youngest son was with me and was actually just sitting on a bench waiting for me instead of rearranging all of the pain relievers and laxatives. While I was waiting, I looked over at him. He wasn’t doing anything but just sitting and waiting while I waited. He was not quoting a scripture that he memorized. He wasn’t putting away the dishes without being asked. He wasn’t showing love and kindness toward his brother. He was just there. And the love I had for him welled up inside of me and I had to fight back the tears. Because who wants to see a grown woman cry in the Wal-Mart pharmacy? That is how God loves us. Just for who we are. Yes, a life of obedience to Him and being in fellowship with Him throughout the day gives Him joy, but He loves us because that is just who He is. He is love and He cannot not love us. He loved us enough to sacrifice His only Son for us. If you are a parent, do you love anyone enough to sacrifice your child for?...