My Own Testimony of Hope in God’s Easter Plan

Through some really traumatic childhood experiences, where blame could be directly targeted to certain individuals, I’ve learned forgiveness by the grace of God in ways that only make sense through Him.

Things that many would’ve deemed unforgivable I was able to humbly hand over to God who replaced those hardships with divine peace.

When I reflect back to those early years of my life, with the wisdom I’ve gained since, I now recognize numbness must have began building as the afflictions happened.

Finding faith years later actually made it very easy to forgive those who were guilty because I was so far-distanced from feeling the hurt I had experienced. God’s goodness in my new-found faith was so powerful and contagious that it exceedingly outweighed the darkness.

The only way I can understand it is because I believe in the beauty of God’s mercy and grace and I see his work upon it without a shadow of a doubt, plus I consider how desperately I’m in need of his forgiveness for my own self-imposed errors.

Forgiveness in those major adversities from my younger years just isn’t something I struggle with.

BUT somehow lately I’ve felt a small nudging of bitterness within me from petty offenses done to me by others more recently.

Subconsciously I guess I’ve tallied them up and now they slowly ooze over me. This is not an experience I wish to have linger around, and quite possibly it reverts back to PTSD from my little girl years unfortunately.

I’m more aware of hurtful feelings because my mind and heart are grounded to Jesus these days. Words or actions of betrayal are something that don’t just go unnoticed on my radar. I can actually feel and process my hurts at this point of my life, it’s a good thing but God has shown me that often times I react negatively.

That negativity that I’ve started to compile transfers as sin and doesn’t fit the necessary mold of Christianity.

I actually tried to avoid writing this post and even went blank last week to come up with a different post as God continued to gently prod me in this particular direction while I fought against it. I’ve wrestled through the words but have realized the timing of digging through this is perfect.

Because it’s Easter week I’m doing a Bible reading with my family in the mornings and evenings, recounting the last days of Jesus’ life. The lessons to be taken in are refreshing reminders.

When I think about the cross my mind inevitably races to Jesus — his willingness to take our sins upon himself out of a love meant to glorify his Father is the most amazing of phenomenons. Man I just never want to be comfortable enough to take that truth for granted. I don’t ever want to feel like I’ve (personally) allowed him to suffer in vain.

The reality of it comes down to the very fact that Jesus shed his perfect blood and died for those big sins I experienced when I was too young to know better — and he also died for the sins of others that I call petty but still get bent out of shape about. On top of that he died for the sin of bitterness I try and tuck away among my other character flaws.

He died for ALL sin. (1 John 2:2)

Had Jesus’ life completely ended at the cross I would be pointlessly seeking a freeness from my sins…we all would.

But the FULLNESS of the life-giving, glorious hope of the Easter story isn’t nailed and halted at the cross like our sins were…we can’t end therebecause when we look at the big picture we move on from a sacrificial cross that served a holy purpose, to an empty tomb that provides and points to a sacred resurrection celebration!

God doesn’t want us to hold onto sins of any sort, no matter their size or place on our life’s timeline — if he did, there’d have been no reason for Jesus’s death to begin with.

If (as Christians) we are to replicate Jesus’ example of love, obedience and glory to God then my sin-issue of clinging to offenses must give way (John 14-15). Anything other than that takes advantage of God’s mercy and grace.

My goal is to do better in recognizing my irritation in the small things (and the big) before they have a chance to negatively impact my emotions. And to remember that the cross shows the commitment of forgiveness and love our victorious God has for us — in whom there is no place for sin to be found at all.

With every single breath of life I’m blessed with, that’s something I want to continually place my hope in and follow after wholeheartedly!!

He is risen!! Happy Easter!!

Ready to Spread Gospel News Like Covid News

I’m subbing today and happen to have a quick break, so not much time but enough to share a thought I’ve had this past week…

Has anyone else considered how quickly the news of covid spread?

I’m pretty sure there’s not a soul on earth who hasn’t heard of it. Babies born at this time will probably read in their baby book years from now that their first word spoken was “covid.” Hopefully not, but I feel like it’s presence is that common in our everyday lives and language.

Here’s what has really grabbed my attention thoughif we can spread the details of covid so rapidly why can’t we do the same with the good news of Jesus? Why aren’t we fervently sharing to the ends of the earth the greatest news ever? This is exactly what we’re called to do as Christians!

Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This piece of scripture is referred to as The Great Commission and it was given to the disciples from Jesus himself. The Gospel has indeed spread since that time (2000 years ago) but there are still sooo many who haven’t heard and these verses apply to us to follow through in an effort to get the word out!

When we back up a few chapters in Matthew we find a heads-up glimpse of an end times warning, chapter 24:12-14 says this:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Those words are also straight from Jesus’ lips to His disciples’ ears and they’re just as much meant for us.

That beginning part doesn’t sound too flattering does it, but I see it rampantly these days, don’t you?

Instead I want to be one who ‘stands firm to the end’ clinging to the hope in Jesus, knowing I’ll be saved. But I want take with me a multitude of others and I’m sure you do too. This will only happen if we as Christians pursue in our mission to share the Gospel message with great intention!

I feel like if we truly take this verse seriously and live it out to the fullest we will be closer yet to seeing it fulfilled — perhaps even in our own lifetime.

Like it or not, we’ve all seen how covid news has spread like wildfire…yet even this should give us great hope in understanding that it really is possible then to get the BEST NEWS EVER out and about and to the ends of the earth, but we have to be aware and responsive to our Jesus mission!

For some of us that might be through evangelizing, others through the blogging world or a form of social media…it could be physical mission trips for some. And with covid presenting travel issues it can simply mean we’re witnessing to our neighbors right next door by showing Jesus’ love in tangible ways — a meal, a church invite (even online), helping with snow removal or yard work. There are a ton of ways to show Jesus‘ love and share His message of hope to the ends of the earth.

Praying you’ll join me in spreading the good news of Jesus — that God so loved the world he sent his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16)

#readytospreadgospelnewslikecovidnews

No More ‘Pain in the Neck’

I could probably write every one of my posts each week sharing about an experience from substitute teaching. Maybe that means it’s just that entertaining at times or there are an endless amount of life lessons offered when I’m at the schools.

Just yesterday I was teaching p.e. again and we were in an intense game of line tag when a little brown haired gal (cute as ever) quickly but cautiously made her way to me. She was holding her neck with both hands and the words that poured from her panicked voice were this:

“My neck is hurting and I can’t move it!! It hurts really bad!!”

She paused for a few seconds and seemed to examine my expression and then without wasting another moment she dramatically blurted out, “I think it’s broke! I think my neck is broken!!”

Side-note: You guys here’s why I shouldn’t be allowed to adult most days because for a half a second I entertained the idea; I was like “oh shoot what if it actually is!?”

I’m a bit sensitive about neck injuries ever since my dad’s dirt bike racing accident that left him a quadriplegic, so I’m gonna give myself the benefit of a fair excuse.

I gathered myself and asked her what happened and if she could turn her neck slowly from side to side. I’m assuming she must have strained her neck a bit when she was running and that was the cause. Calmly and rationally we made ‘headway’ and determined her neck was in fact still intact and she’d be alright. After the reassurance, off she ran for more line tag just like that!!

Boy can I ever relate to the symbolic storyline of that whole deal when I compare it to the things I’ve freaked out about throughout different stages of life.

I was a skilled self-diagnosed hypochondriac for years…worrying about anything from my children’s health to well-being, to what people thought of me, to finances, to my premature gray hair which by the way was probably multiplying rapidly because of my worrying…the list “went” on…

And quite frankly it all made up my own definition of a pain in the neck.

I’ve come so far away from those worries…except my soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old driving in a few months…that one I’m still working on letting Jesus take the wheel entirely. I’m getting closer with this too though!

After reflecting on the “broken neck” scene from yesterday and because of the over the top drama I laugh just a smidge and it causes me to ask one question…

How many of our worries are all done in vain?

As I’ve looked back and taken inventory over how God has seen me through my trials, I’ve noticed that not one of the things I’ve ever given worry to have actually prevailed. Ever! The odds of victory are in God’s favor. They’re not for me to chase!

Some of the very first verses that I memorized when I came to faith and realized God’s word is the answer in all situations were on the topic of overcoming worry:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Give all your worries and your cares to God for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Those, among a few others, were such a blessing of truth and still speak to me today when I tend to wander away from practicality.

Just like I had to comfort that young fretting sweetie in my p.e. class yesterday during our game, God is always available and willing to do the same for us, no matter the amount of physical or emotional pain we struggle with. He’s a Perfect Healer and we can find relief from our burdens through worship, fellowship with other believers, prayer, and reading His word!

Tag, you’re it!! Let’s not waste any more time in unproductive worry when there’s so much more to life! To Him be the glory!!

Choosing Kindness in 2021

Each year I choose a word to focus on and this year my word is kindness.

Side-note: Last year my word was surrender because I knew it would help me give up control-freak issues. After covid unexpectedly came along surrender might have subconsciously been anyone’s word. Spritually-speaking I had the opportunity to grow and it ended up being a valuable lesson to live by. I learned to surrender in many ways throughout 2020 and had sort of this give-it-to-God mindset to go along with my word of surrender.

Ok so back to this year, it’s been really cool to see how often I’ve physically seen the word ‘kindness‘ in my presence.

I sub at quite a few different schools and in a majority of the classrooms and hallways I’ve been met by my word. There are posters, paintings, and phrases of encouragement containing the word kindness, all serving as personal reminders to me.

Outside one of the school’s windows that faces the playground is painted ‘choose kindness’ and another one that reads ‘kindness matters’.

It’s interesting to me because those words have probably been plastered all over the schools for years but until kindness became my word (this year) I think it went unnoticed on my radar, so to be aware and take notice has been refreshing.

Kindness isn’t something I want to take for granted. When I see that word I don’t want it to be just a simple reminder of my 2021 word of the year rather I want it to speak deep into my being. I want it woven into my heart and felt within my thoughts and actions. I want it to push me to literally show kindness and recognize it when I see others living it out.

With it being March already I have a few months practice into my word.

Recently I was at the dentist with my oldest daughter who had a tiny cavity filled (her first and hopefully only one ever).

Something I really respected was that the hygienist laid her hand on top of Paige’s hands to comfort her as the dentist used the needle to numb her mouth; it may sound silly but that act of kindness just stuck out so much to me! It was noticeably-caring and that type of thing goes far in this wild world we live in.

From that experience I realized how important it is for me to not only be practicing and showing kindness myself but also to see it in others.

When the dentist reached out to us the next day to check on Paige (yes she does that because she’s amazing) you can bet I made mention of the hygienist’s act of kindness.

Another example of kindness came in the form of a compliment this past week…

I was teaching an elementary p.e. class when a little blonde haired boy complained of his knee hurting. I told him to have a seat against the wall for a bit and see if that might help.

Meanwhile as a crazy loud game of tunnel tag continued that little guy with the hurt knee had apparently traded phys-ed for art class. After a few minutes of resting he excitedly tapped me on the arm and pulled from his pocket the tiniest little notepad and pen and flipped through the busy pages until he came to the one he’d just completed. Amongst doodles it read ‘you are a really kind p.e. teacher.’

It was super sweet and heart-warming.

When I chose the word kindness for 2021 I didn’t know it was going to impact my life in such ordinary ways but that’s exactly what I would’ve hoped for.

In the 3rd through 5th grade Sunday school class I teach at church the curriculum we use has a focus word each month. February’s word happened to be kindness, the description they gave was this:

In our little class we’ve talked about being kinder than you have to be, being kind to those who are different than we are, and being kind to others because God is kind to us. I also told them to be sure and notice how much that word is displayed in their schools!

On the flip side my own kiddos are very aware that ‘kindness’ is my 2021 word so when they catch my irritation in something they quickly remind me to “remember your word mom….” The accountability in that makes such a difference!

Kindness encourages me in a huge way. It’s selfless. It’s a choice. And it truly does matter.

Do you choose a word for the year? If so what is your word and have you seen positive results from it?

If you have a story of recent kindness I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

pic from YouVersion app

Sweet blessings!

Lessons from Grandpa Fred’s ‘Early’ Turn Signal

Every once in a while I reminisce back to the days of my early teen years. Often times that’s a mess of shame but there’s one memory that makes me smile or laugh out loud every time…

My best friend’s grandpa used to take her and I and another one of our friends to youth group a few towns away from where we grew up. I think her grandpa must’ve went to a Bible study group during that same time so it worked out pretty well.

The funny part about it is that he’d put his turn signal on in his classy white Lincoln Town car blocks before we’d ever get to the turn that lead to the church. I’d like to think it was because he was proudly but humbly letting people know where we were headed. Realistically that probably wasn’t the case — but either way (between sips of fruit flavored soda pop that he had treated us to) we’d quietly crack up because of his very early turn signal. I don’t think he ever caught on to our snickering…if so he never let us know.

I wish I could say I remember more about my time spent once we actually got to the church but unfortunately I was too self absorbed at that point of my life and probably present for the socializing more than anything.

Lately I’ve been substitute teaching over in that same little town where I used to hit up youth group and as I pull into town I can’t help but think about Grandpa Fred’s drastic turn signal antics.

It’s amusing to me that this memory comes to mind of all things and so I challenged myself to reflect and dig in a bit.

When driving, a turn signal serves as a warning for good purpose — for safety and protection.

The interesting thing is, that flashing signal before the turn is similar to the way God works. When we read His word, all throughout we see warnings and directions for our benefit, in effort to guide our lives before we step into trouble.

I praise God for that; it helps me navigate on the straight but narrow path.

There are times though when God’s warning signal is flashing and I choose to ignore or reject it. I fail to resort in putting His good word before life obstacles. When I deviate away I’m lost in twists, turns, and dead-ends.

In Psalm 25 verses 8-11 we read, ‘Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.’

Those words above remind me that scripture is the place to find instruction and guidance for my life, recognizing that I’m a sinner in need of His direction.

And then let’s check out Romans 15:4

‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’

I love the inspiration packed into every one of those words.

When we consider the way the turn signal serves as a blessing for not only ourselves but others as well it pairs up with what we find as we read on in Romans 15…

Verses 5 & 6 have this to say: ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Notice how Paul’s words here are portraying the idea that when we are obedient to the Lord’s ways it should show in our behavior towards others. Obedience for ourselves and looking out for others is a way to glorify God, sort of this positive domino effect objective.

The same is true with using a turn signal. The advantage in its use is that it’s causing us to be other’s-focused whether we’ve thought about it or not. It does ourselves well when used, but the benefit it serves to others is just as huge. There’s two-way gratuity in it. Likewise God’s word guides and protects us and then we have the opportunity to share that blessing with others.

Looking back at Grandpa Fred’s early turn signal habit does my heart good.

The whole point in that half an hour drive was to deliver a few wild (and for the most part clueless girls) over to youth group — and himself to Bible study.

At the time we may have been giddy with excitement about a turn signal getting clicked on blocks before the turn but in hindsight Grandpa’s focus wasn’t caught up in a turn signal at all. Instead he knew that the real destination was all about ‘driving our faith.’

…Just as though God’s word guides us with ‘signal warnings’ throughout — the real effort is to navigate us closer and nearer to Jesus and His likeness, with our final destination Heaven-bound.

Our Sins Are ‘Toast’

Unfortunately burnt toast and burnt whatever happens more often then I’d like to admit in my house.

This was from yesterday morning, and the smoke that ensued caused my twelve year old to gag and ask how much longer till we we’d be leaving for the day.

I seriously just have to laugh it off anymore because it happens in what feels like a millisecond of time and frequently; if I didn’t laugh I’d spend a majority of my time offended.

One moment hunger-craved-food goes into our toaster oven…and the next moment smoke-alarms “long” to sound off wildly…had my family not pulled the batteries months ago after getting irritated with the ear piercing urgent beeping.

I really need to put batteries back in…just in case.

We bought the little toaster oven because of the convenience it offers. I can easily bake or toast non gluten free items in it and then afterwards line the baking tray with fresh foil to make my gluten free daughter’s food without the worry of cross contamination. It really works wonders so long as I pay attention. Literally though I can pop something in, turn around to take care of something else for what I think is just a speck of time, and come back to find a haze of smoke creeping it’s way out followed by a display of well done briquettes. It puts Weber to shame!

Side note: Truly the “burnt offerings” as they’ve come to be known at the Witt residence, have something to do with my ADD kicking in (which I’d actually rather refer to as multitasking, it makes me feel a bit more accomplished.) So in hindsight, I realize, I’m to blame for the blackened treasures. The toaster oven is not malfunctioning, it’s the operator!

The uncanny part of me sharing this story is that through this bad habit of burning food I’m actually reminded of how quickly sin can take up space in my life.

There have been times, as a Christian, where I feel so close to God that I forget Satan is always lurking, looking to devour. My Bible reading is meaningful, prayer time is heartfelt, and tithing is passionate and it seems like none of that could go wrong…

But then, as if out of nowhere, a Bible reading gets replaced by an article from CountryLiving, prayer time is interrupted by a Pinterest inspired craft time, and tithing is cut short because of supplies for the Pinterest craft.

And then the grueling process of sin builds; it becomes a gateway for additional slip-ups to come in more prominently — the Pinterest craft doesn’t turn out just right and anger instills, the best friend’s version looks flawless and jealousy emerges…

Can anyone else relate??

Friends what I end up with is anything far from a tasteful dish…

Instead I’ve allowed the sneakiest fox of all known as Satan to have his way with me…

Because once I begin to abandon those good habits I had (with me and Jesus) I become smoldered in a mess of sin.

And it happens in the blink of an eye…just like that burnt toast.

The good intentions are there, but if I don’t pay attention with care and concern sometimes those good intentions are scorched over with no forewarning.

Thankfully we serve a God who isn’t a fan of sin (and probably not burnt toast either). He’s not around to hang out for those things. He’s a God full of mercy and grace, and even re-do’s.

Which brings me to my point…

Whenever I end up with burnt toast, I remove it from the heat source, set it on a plate to cool off, and then I ditch that burnt toast to the trashcan faster than it took to burn it!! And I begin again — this next time with more attentiveness.

And you know something? I’m convinced God has a likeness with us and our sin nature and His way comes readily and unconditionally every time. He intervenes, carries us as we vent, shows us the correct path while our other one trails in the dust behind and then He leads us closer and nearer to Heaven’s perfect banquet, lovingly prepared by Him.

And that’s a feast I never want to miss out on.

Father God, you are so good to us. Our mess of sin, no matter how dark, is nothing compared to your gracious love. You desire to come to our rescue and you want nothing more than to have each of us as your very own. Thank you for never giving up on us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’ —Hebrews 8:12

What are you putting off?

The lifeteam I’m a part of was gathered around my pastor’s kitchen table Sunday evening like we do each week. This evening though we all took turns sharing about our younger years mixed with faith.

At my turn, I confessed that I literally remember thinking (while I was a teenager) ‘yeah I believe in God, without a doubt, but right now I’m just living life a bit on the wild side and probably when I’m older (like late thirties) I’ll settle down and get real about my faith’.

That was seriously my thoughts as a teen.

Boy how naive!!

I’m thankful God grabbed my attention much earlier than what I had plans for. In my mid to late twenties I finally began to realize there was more to life than ‘Alicia’s world’ and thanks be to Him there’s been no turning back!!

In the past I’ve written about my daughter, McKenzie, with her celiac disease. And real quick if you’re not familiar with celiac disease it’s when your body can’t digest gluten which is found in wheat products. Now that she’s been diagnosed for nearly two years we’ve been careful to watch her diet, keeping it free from gluten.

To add to the restrictions, Mc is an extremely picky eater. She didn’t come by her nickname ‘Picky Micky’ by accident. This girl of mine has pretty slim food preferences and ever since she became gluten free we couldn’t get her to try gluten free bread!!

That is until a few months ago.

She finally caved to bread when I convinced her that a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich is hands down a mouth watering comfort food that’ll surely hit the spot especially when you dunk it into a steamy bowl of homemade savory tomato soup!!

Now if she had her way that’d probably be her only lunch choice!

Isn’t it interesting how we tend to put things off — things that have the potential to be of or for our benefit?

It may seem a far stretch to compare Mc’s situation to me putting my faith off but it goes to show how widespread this idea can be.

Maybe you can relate…maybe you’ve been putting off a new hobby you’d like to check out, or neglecting to mend a broken friendship, perhaps you’ve been continually postponing a trip to the doctor for fear what the prognosis might be…your hang up could be addiction (of any form) and you just can’t break-free yet you so desperately desire to…or maybe you’re like I was with my faith as a teen…

NONE of us are getting any younger. Not one of us. And there’s ALWAYS good to be sought, we just have to be compliant to nurture hints of positive feelings.

Check out Ephesians 5:15-17 with me:

‘Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.’

Good words, right?

God’s word shows us to use opportunities and time wisely.

Pushing my faith off as a teen was one of my most ignorant choices. Gratefully God had a plan much better than mine as He does for all of us.

I’ve come along far in my faith but will most certainly always have space to grow. Something I’d like to get better at is sharing my faith with others in person, not just through my words in a blog.

What about you — is there something in your life, something pulling at your heart in an immutable way that you just haven’t been courageous enough to explore but you have a probing interest to?

We must be willing to step into God’s will, for His purpose… Brave enough to try something new… Bold enough to ask for direction and encouragement… Blatant enough to tell others about it…

When I spoke up last Sunday in Lifeteam, opening up about my past faith and even some of my current strengths and struggles, it felt natural and right, there was nothing to lose. I wasn’t at risk of ‘putting off’ a good thing. It was a feeling of accomplishment where relationships have a chance to grow.

Sweet friends, I just want to encourage you in whatever it is you might be putting off — waste time no longer, seek out God and His ways and simply go for it with His lead.

Teach us to number our days, that we gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Where Are You Humble Hearts?

Photo & verse from You Version Bible app

A while ago I wrote about my poor little Eli dog; our Yorkie who is medicated for seizures and jumps wildly at the drop of a feather with anxiety.

If you missed that post I’ll update you real quick:

In July of last year we made it a rule that Eli can’t be on our bed or the couch or anywhere that’s more than a few inches off the floor unless someone is holding him. The reason being, when Eli ends up somewhere like that he’ll jump down without thinking twice, smack his baby noggin, and go straight into a seizure. I’m not even exaggerating at all. But I’m super stoked to report that he actually hasn’t had one single seizure since enforcing this rule.

Subsequently my dog wants absolutely nothing to do with me, like he completely resents me over this deal. He mopes around the house more often than not. Anything other than moping, is him sleeping or spastically eating canned dog food.

If a dog can experience confusion and perhaps depression, Eli’s there.

Sad right?

And try as I might, because Eli’s a dog, I just can’t convince him that this is in fact for his own good.

Boy how symbolic this has been of my own walk with God at times. There have been seasons in life where God has put up roadblocks and warnings for the benefit of my own good, but I’ve completely missed acknowledging the betterment of it all.

Instead there’s almost this questioning attitude toward God, similar to Eli’s behavior with me.

I’m thinking more recently how so many of us feel disappointed regarding the election outcome and how our government stands at this point. There’s a lot of unrest and discouragement within many of us, especially as Christians.

But…as I’ve pondered these things two words have come to mind: submission and humbleness.

And (to my surprise) when I studied the word submission here’s one of the top scripture write-ups that showed up — repeatedly.

Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Notice those words Paul used…respecthonor…and those words were in reference to governing authorities. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like the sound of that right now.

I realize Paul was writing encouragement to those of his own time but I believe this piece is included in the Bible for our present good and direction too.

Obviously if government is forcing us to disobey God we are not called to do so. On the flip side we must try to live at peace so long as there’s no conflict to our beliefs as Christians.

We may not like where things are headed but there are going to be some things in place that we can’t get around. I’m not a fan at all when I think of the likelihood of paying higher taxes. This is where submission plays in, like it or not…but it’s what God’s word shows us to do.

Contrastingly a mental red flag goes up as I consider the government approval on abortion support, a topic I strongly disagree with. In this very thing I have every right to stand against this idea but I must do so responsibly, not irrationally. Thinking of things like this takes courage and a humble approach. But we do these things for God — not man, not government.

Our SUBMISSION must always be built from the foundation of God’s ways, anything that goes against His way gives us the opportunity to HUMBLY take a standpoint from His angle hoping to show others Jesus in the midst.

I’ve heard my kids spew words of irritation and hate too much lately regarding their concerns, probably much of what they’ve heard from their Dad and me. I can’t be raising hostile hearts. My home needs to be a place for kindness, not madness.

Perhaps this election was put into place as a time for us to practice humbleness and to stretch our faith in the Lord — full reliance on God and His truth sounds pretty obedient and desirable to me.

We need the direction of God’s word in our lives, otherwise we’re rampant cannonballs just waiting to unleash…which brings me back to my sweet little Eli. No doubt my dog is distressed over changes in his own tiny world BUT the thing about Eli is that he remains calm and cool through it all which in turn is furthering his life. He may be a touch on the edge of defiance towards me right now but I wouldn’t ever desert him regardless…neither will God with any of us as we submit humbly — solely keeping inline with His word.

Together let’s pray for hearts that represent Christ well during these times.

Relying On God More Than Ever

For years I’ve been such a control-freak and I’ve written about it openly in past blog posts. If our world has shown me anything lately it’s that I’m learning I have little control over much.

Sure I can control my choices, my attitude and my response, but apart from that I have no say.

But God.

He is fully prepared. All-knowing. Powerful. The perfecter of control.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’

The real truth is that ultimately God has and is in control over every single little detail and part of life, and I’m actually finding such peace in seeing that I have control over very few things. Trying to take control of “things” or areas of life is exhausting. The sobering part of this is that in realizing I have minimal control, it’s forcing me to rely heavily on Jesus — knowing, trusting and believing that He has got absolutely everything in His hands, and in His care and His perfect control.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me lately that they’re living in fear, and I (myself) just haven’t been. But I think it’s because I’ve been drawing my strength from the Lord by reading His word and through prayer and reading devotions. I’m certainly frustrated by the circumstances of our world but it’s not causing me fear or anxiety.

It may seem like God is dragging His feet during these times but scripture shows that God’s not worried about time. His “concern” is that we surrender and become obedient. It’s not our right to groan about His timing. He’s been faithful throughout Bible history, He has in the years since and will continue to.

When we become impatient regarding God’s timing we can hold onto these scriptures:

Psalm 90:4 ‘For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.’

Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’

Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.’

If there is change happening, it’s within us — God is simply unchanging and He is faithful.

For a recovering control-freak all of these scripture-truths are good news as I lean into my faith — trusting in God’s flawless plans more than ever.

May any changing happening be for the better, drawing us nearer to Him.

Merry Christmas!

In my neck of the woods the kids are out of school for the Christmas break and of course there’s a snowstorm today!! You can’t tell from the pictures but it is blowing like crazy with 75 mph wind gusts. I’m sure my kids would’ve rather it hit yesterday (their last day of school) so they could’ve had a possible snow day (one extra day off) but that wasn’t in God’s weather forecast. Actually though they enjoyed their last school day…because it was filled with treats, crafts, and…well…laziness really!

Some would say that’s what Christmas is all about — treats, crafts, lazy days…baking, presents, etc. BUT like the theme of my post last week was based on — when you take Christ out of Christmas you miss the best aspect and the absolute only reason for celebrating the Christmas season!

Today’s devotional thought: Out front of our house we have a small evergreen tree that is growing bigger and bigger all the time. I gauge how much it’s grown by how many strands of lights I wrap around it every Christmas season and it never falls short of needing and earning an extra strand each year when I decorate it. I think this year there are three or four strands wrapped around it. I could just buy an extra long set of lights but it’s just as easy to keep adding a strand each year.

This growing tree, wrapped with its many lights, reminds me of how when we ground our faith in Jesus we see His light in an exceptionally dark world. Jesus’ unchanging light grows bigger to us the more we spend time in His word, connect with Him in prayer, and share His message all for His glory.

While we draw closer to Jesus and echo His ways that radiant “Jesus-light” is reflected to others through our words and actions and the closer we grow to Him the bigger His light can shine and work through us.

Light always serves a purpose — and God’s grace in sending His Son to the earth is without a doubt the most beautiful and purpose-filled. Jesus is truly the most perfect light, ready and willing to shine His brilliance over our Christmas celebration. May God’s gift of Love and Light be the spark that illuminates our lives with joy not just at the Christmas season but every day of the year!!

Sweet ‘Christ’mas blessings to you all!!

With love,

The Witt’s

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” —John 8:12

Here are some fun recipes we’ve tried over the past week! Enjoy!

Link for Gluten-free Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Link for Cowboy Cookie Recipe in a Jar

Link for Cake Pops

Link for Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies