Handpicked Holiness

Yesterday I couldn’t shake it. This thought that I’ve had many times before, that I’m quick to forget…but as quickly as I am to forget it – the Lord is gracious enough to bring it back to me. Our children are our disciples. That’s a game changer.

If we view our children as our disciples, and realize that our family is our most important – and FIRST – ministry…how would that change the way we organize our lives? How could that possibly change the way we view churches and youth groups? If suddenly I realize that God has given me the responsibility to disciple these little hearts…not a youth leader, youth Pastor, not a Sunday School teacher – but ME – how does that change the way I approach parenting and my kids, or my own, spirituality?

I am so thankful for a God that loves me enough to stop me from running the rat race of religion. I’m so thankful for His tender, gentle guidance that pointed to my family and my kids. I’m so thankful that I understand now that this parenting thing is about handpicked holiness…three little souls handpicked by God for me. That’s amazingly breathtaking. God handpicked these three hearts and saw fit to entrust them to me. I don’t take this lightly.

In an excerpt of her new book Mere Motherhood, Cindy Rollins says this “When you spend years and years reading aloud, especially when your life is absent from other distractions, the places and the people in books become family friends. You talk about them like you know them.”  Those words…when your life is absent from other distractions…they really speak to me. My life was anything but absent from distractions three years ago. It was full of so many things…and quite honestly now I see clearly how none of those were the best thing. None of those were my best yes. None of those were the beautiful and the lovely and the pure things my heart so desires these days. They were the busy, and the loud, and the empty. But now, now, this life I lead is free from distractions. And it is a beautiful thing. To be able to be present in the moment with my kids. To pour into their hearts. To have them pour into mine. To know one another in such an intimate way, one I’m not sure you can come to without this life absent from distractions.

A few weeks ago I was watching the way water moves and behaves. I noticed how much power there is when water is collected, funneled together. I found myself the other day standing in front of a waterfall – and again this thought came to my mind. The beauty and power of focus.

Look – if you are in a place that feels anything but distraction free, anything but focused…don’t lose heart and definitely don’t feel hopeless. Let the tension of those feelings be the force that continues to push you forward the distraction free life God has for you. Maybe it’s homeschooling your children. Maybe it’s not. Whatever it is – it’s worth the process and journey to get there. And remember to give yourself as much grace as your Heavenly Father does!

**I can’t wait to read the rest of Mere Motherhood.  Here is a link to a longer excerpt from the book Mere Motherhood.

Dear Beyoncé,

BeautyBeyondBones

So Beyonce did a thing.

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Yes, The Queen Bey unexpectedly dropped a videoon us a couple days ago.

But no, not for a song. Or a movie, or a music video.

It was for an “athleisure” clothing line. Because, as you know, everybody and their brother is creating one.

And, in true Beyonce fashion, she had to one-up everyone. So her line, Ivy Park, is notjusta clothing line. Oh no. It’s amovement.

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The video, entitled, “Where is your Park?” is a reflective, spiritual-feeling video, narratedwith feeling by the Queen herself, talking about this park -Ivy Park- where she would go when she needed to think, or train, or make a tough decision, or push herself. How all her life that park was her “go-to” place, that insomanywords, gave her the power to kick a$$ and become the boss she is today.

I’m telling…

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The Two Big C’s – Cam and the Church

Leading up to the Super Bowl, there was talk among some people about a prophecy spoken over the Carolina Panthers. If you haven’t heard about this before, you can find more information here. In short, there is a prophecy that when the Panthers win the Super Bowl revival will break out. I don’t know how the two will weave together or any details, just simply that their win at the Super Bowl will be a demarcation in time that will separate the before and after in a way that is spiritually historical.

When the game started Sunday, I had a feeling that it just wasn’t going to happen for the Panthers. And part of it was because of Cam Newton. I had a sense that it would almost be a horrible thing for him if they won this year. How would he ever learn humility? One thing that really stuck out to me during the first few minutes of the game was Cam’s jersey number, number one. Now obviously this wasn’t the first time that I had seen his jersey number, I just previously had never paid much attention. But this time, as I watched I thought to myself, why do people expect humility from a guy who chose number 1 for his jersey?

Then yesterday, the day after the Super Bowl, I was watching a program ESPN did on Cam  on YouTube. Not sure when this originally aired but I was shocked, like eyes WIDE OPEN shocked, when I saw Cam’s high school footage and he was wearing the number 2 on his jersey. So I begin to think, okay…when did the switch to number 1 happen? The piece goes through his Florida State Days, his Junior College days and his Auburn days…all the number 2. So today I do some research on the internet and find that Cam wanted the number 2 but the player at the Panthers who had the number 2, Jimmy Claussen, wouldn’t give it up. The crazy thing is, a year later, the same player Claussen switched from the number he wouldn’t give to Cam, to a different number all on his own. Now tell me that isn’t strange!

What is my point with all this? My point is simple. Could it be that the Church is right where Cam Newton, jersey number 1, is at this point in time? Full of potential? Full of purpose? Poised for revival? Totally equipt to do the job set in front of them? Equipt in a way that is new and different and maybe never seen before? But being held back by one thing, the same thing. In the fourth chapter of James scripture teaches us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Could it be that the one thing that is holding back Cam, is the same thing that is holding back the church? Could it be that the Lord is holding back because he is waiting for a completely surrendered, completely submitted Church? Could pride be the resisting force in all of this?

I believe God is calling to his people and saying that it is time to take the ax to the root of those things that are holding us back. It’s time to acknowledge that if there is any area of our life where we don’t wake up and realize how desperately we need God, there is a self-seeking, sub-rebellious pride still alive and well functioning in that area of our lives. Maybe we see the need for God’s help in our marriage, or our health. But the areas where you feel you have got it together, where you know what you are doing. Could those areas be where pride is growing in the shadows?

I think that Cam, like the Church, needs to return to his roots. It’s time to pull that number 2 off the shelf. Who cares about the jersey’s that people have…hey – they’ll be worth more in the long run. What a testimony it would be, and what a heart change it would show, if he were to reach for that number 2…because after all, there is only ONE who is above all things.

 

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Thy Kingdom Come 

Sometimes what God is doing in our lives seems like utter and complete nonsense. Or better yet like he isn’t doing anything.But when you feel like that remember that people thought “thy Kingdom come” would look like this

 (a physical Kingdom) when it actually ended up looking like this


their Messiah on a cross. The King they expected to rule over this glorious Kingdom broken, beaten and crucified. Messiah on a cross. Instead of a Kingdom full of gold and earthly riches, God sent a Kingdom that can ONLY be seen by those with eyes to see and ears to hear. He sent a spiritual Kingdom that can only be experienced in the Spirit. His ways are higher then our ways and we cannot figure out how he is going to do something. His riches and his inheritance are not things to be seen with your eye, but things experienced in the hearts of men and women who love the Lord! Keep hanging on and remember God kept his promise with you when he allowed his son to hang on Calvary that day! #godisapromisekeeper #hiswaysarenotourways #itdoesntmakesense #1corinthians2v14

The Wilderness

Between the Red Sea and the Jordan river, in that area we call the WILDERNESS, God took a group of slaves and completely TRANSFORMED them. He took their mindsets, developed from 400 years in institutional bondage, that had given them mindsets and heart conditions and approaches to life that were not conducive to INHERITANCE. He took whiny, sinful slaves who wandered around the same mountain for forty years, and CONVERTED them into warriors who understood how to TAKE TERRITORY from their enemies. He took a group of people who had a mindset that told them they had to fight for scraps and DISCIPLED them into men and women of God who had the character and personality that enabled them to HOLD what God was trying to GIVE. He had to do this. It was intentional. The only way they could make it from the Red Sea to the PROMISED LAND was through the education and teachings that only the wilderness could provide.

God did the same with Jesus, only backwards. Jesus started at the Jordan river and was sent by the spirit of God into the wilderness. Scripture shows us that was the very first thing the Spirit compelled him to do, go into the wilderness. And there, yes he was tempted by Satan, but more importantly he was fed and ministered to by angels! I also find it fascinating that Jesus goes into the wilderness but you can see in the account that they were already in the wilderness when he was baptized in the Jordan river…so Jesus went into the WILDERNESS, WILDERNESS! (Aren’t you glad we don’t get called to that place!!)

When we are in the space between the Red Sea and the Jordan river – we have a choice. We can choose a perspective that tells us that it is dry and has eyes to see that there is no provision, no food and no water and we were probably better off in the bondage of our past where at least we had some basic comforts instead of stuck in this uncomfortable place where there seems to be nothing. Or we can elevate our perspectives and choose to come up higher and sit with God and have eyes to see the way He sees. We can choose to walk by the Spirit and see that in the wilderness we have the privilege of being free from distractions and are able to focus completely on Him. In the wilderness we have the blessing of being fed directly by God. The wilderness isn’t punishment, it is an invitation. To come higher. To go deeper. To free ourselves, of ourselves. To step into the new creation we are in Christ Jesus. To seek first the Kingdom of God. To see ourselves bare and naked. To recognize that it is only by seeing our own weaknesses that we truly become strong. To see how faithful God really is. To know who God is with such fullness and intimacy that we become INDOMITABLE. The wilderness isn’t a punishment, it is an invitation, from a God who loves you enough to not let you stay where you are at. 

So if you feel like you are in a season of wilderness, or if you feel the Lord calling you to come meet him in that dry place…let go and trust in the One who can still, and forever will, be able to command the waves and the winds and the storms of your life. Trust Him today. His promises are His promises.

The Testimony of a Caterpillar 🐛

 I was watching a video about butterflies and was so struck by the revelation their life cycle carries with it…
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.   Romans 1:20 
———————————–
– Don’t Despise the Days of Small Beginnings: A newborn caterpillar fits on the head of a pin it is so small.
– BREAKTHROUGH: In the egg the caterpillar is simply existing, but life begins when it breaks through the shell and begins its magnificent journey. 
– HUMILITY: Once born it eats the shell of the its own egg. It has to swallow the very thing that held it back to make it to the next step.
– Eat for your Season & Eat a Lot: From that point forward the caterpillar eats VORACIOUSLY and it dines on MILKweed. 
– PROCESS: Caterpillars grow very quickly and shed their skin frequently, each time marking a new stage in their life. 
– SHED YOUR SKIN: This process is called ‘instar’ from Latin meaning form/likeness. So with each shedding, the caterpillar takes on a slightly new form/likeness.
– UNDERNEATH: Don’t count out what appears to be on the bottom. When the final stage of metamorphosis is ready to begin the caterpillar searches the UNDERSIDE of a twig. Those that are first shAll be last…
– DESTINY: One of my favorite parts – the last shedding is the most miraculous one…the caterpillar has to break free from ITSELF. As it sheds its final skin you realize that you were beholding an illusion and there is evidence that the true destiny of this creature is something much different then what you first beheld. 
– PROTECTION: The newly formed pupa takes on the appearance of something very ordinary to protect it from predators. Meanwhile…
– BEAUTY FROM ASHES: While the pupa is masquerading as a mere plant, INTERNALLY, the ashes of everything the caterpillar once was are being formed into something so beautiful and so magnificent, it is nothing short of miraculous….WINGS.
– NEW: The old has completely passed away and out of the ashes have came a beautiful butterfly that is vibrantly colored with all, new colors. This is a completely and totally different creature from the caterpillar. 
– LIFE: Before this new creation can take flight, it spreads its wings and begins to pump fluid from the stored nutrients and fluid in its belly until the wings are stretched and expanded into their full size. When you fill up on the WORD, streams of living water flow from within you. 
– BEHOLD: The butterfly takes flight, leaving the shell of its former self behind. It will never again use the same mode of transportation. It will never again eat the same food. 
– DISCIPLESHIP: All things become new and the butterfly will continue to be nourished on nectar so it can REPRODUCE – continuing the cycle of life. 
The video…Life Cycle of a Butterfly