It’s What’s Inside That Matters

This past week I did a little paint project on my bedroom furniture.

Beforehand the nightstand and dresser were the drab brown color in the photo below and the bed platform was a dark brown with whitewash over it.

I don’t have pictures of everything before painting them because I always get too impatient and excitedly start a project and then think about taking a “before picture” after the fact, hence the reason I only have the pre-painted dresser pic.

We leave for vacation to Texas in about a week and I made sure a stop at Magnolia Market in Waco is on our itinerary.

For those who don’t know, Magnolia Market is basically a shopping center owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines who were the home renovation gurus of the show Fixer-Upper so the market was inspired off of their creative mindsets.

Taking in one of the Gaines’ popular and growing establishments is right up my alley. I love, love, love home renovations, building projects, seeing before and after results. To me these things just feel like a breath of fresh air.

I’m reminded of the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

Doesn’t that word “new” sound motivational and refreshing?

I want to dig a little deeper though for this devotional today…because while I thought I was going to focus on the topic of a ‘fresh new look’ …when I was studying this morning I came across a verse from Colossians 3:12 and God pointed me in a different direction to reflect on instead.

My bedroom furniture may have a new look on the outside but opening any of the drawers I’m still going to find the same articles of clothing inside. Those dresser drawers still serve the same purpose as they did before painting them, and that’s what matters. The only reason I need those pieces of furniture is because of what’s inside. Painted or not, the point is my clothes are held purposefully inside.

Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

According to that verse what truly matters is what’s on the inside, showing outwardly.

Let’s not miss the true beauty of those words.

When we consider our own personal appearance the best features that should show aren’t Maybelline’s sky high mascara plastered to our lashes, nor Mary Kay’s flashiest red lipstick for our pout…and fellas it’s not all about growing an epic Grizzly Adams beard, BUT instead our best representation of our outer-self should be that of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Those attributes weave in as part of the fabric of our being as we make a daily conscious effort to live more like Christ. We are called to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Those should show greatest on our outside image.

After coming across that verse from Colossians and spending time studying over it, sure my newly painted bedroom furniture may be charming but the clothes inside hold more significance. And more so, when I consider how this verse applies to myself, those things pale greatly in comparison to the importance of how I clothe myself from the inside out in a Jesus-pointing, spiritual way. May my best look portray His attractive characteristics.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!❤️

The Answer to Quieting Drama

Of our three little fur friends in our house I could never name one that’s more dramatic than the other.

Eli the older of the two Yorkies is accident prone—to the point it almost seems he does stupid things on purpose such as running into doors. He also dreads bath-time and gets so worked up that he’ll pace around in the house until someone picks him up and forces him to have proper personal hygiene. P.S. He’s the one that’s actually diagnosed as special needs so no worries he doesn’t need to see a vet for any of this, he’s already being medicated by one.

Max the younger Yorkie gets ridiculously fired up if he lays eyes on a balloon, the vacuum, or a pair of scissors for a haircut.

And Taya our chihuahua yips and yipes anytime she gets bumped or hurt in the least bit.

And they all equally identify as guard dogs when someone comes to the door..like their little single-digit weight will take someone down…Actually Taya usually tips the scale to 10 or 11 pounds…she likes her food in large doses and several times a day.

This morning Taya’s back paw lightly got caught on the baby gate that separates our living room and my oldest daughter’s room. (I could call it a dog gate rather than a baby gate because that’s the role it plays in our house.)

She got so riled that I wondered if she had a splinter or if something more had happened. I picked her up and was consoling her and comforting her and spoiling her while she was whimpering and whining…then low and behold here came her mama (my youngest daughter) down from her loft bed to the rescue. When Taya saw Mc the dramatic whining immediately stopped, the tail began wagging wildly, and Taya flew into Mc’s arms and the smothering kisses began!!

She was absolutely, perfectly fine!!

When I think about this I’m reminded of a little child happily playing one moment—oblivious to accidents or danger, followed by a tiny topple and then resulting in an inevitable bumped knee or scraped elbow. The over-the-top, dramatic wailing starts right away and then comes a desperate cry for help, “Mommy! Mommy!” Mama comes to the rescue (just like Mc did for Taya) and she simply scoops her child up, kisses the owie, and maybe covers it over with a band-aide and it’s soon forgotten about.

The recovery time is almost instant…all because of a mama’s love and comfort.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gotten way too dramatic in life…emotionally, physically, or mentally but always, always, ALWAYS God is there for the rescue. Every. Single. Time.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. —Psalm 46:1

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them all from their troubles. —Psalm 34:17-18

In our brokenness, with our hurts, even when we’re in a dramatic state of mind God wants us to come to Him.

Knowing God leads to loving Him, and trusting that He is capable of healing anything.

Being in love with God means that when the drama or owies in life come (and they will) we have a Rescuer we can call out to anytime, anyplace. The recovery time God offers in times of hurt and heartache is unbeatable and beautifully life altering.

I pray we would passionately seek Him out regularly in the good times and the undesirable alike.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!!

Overcoming the Lies of ‘Not Enough’

Insecurities are no fun, plain and simple, and unfortunately they can fester when least expected.

I’ve made progress in gaining confidence in a couple of “big to me” things over the past few years…

The two newest achievements:

1. I’ve graciously embraced my graying hair—determining it’s much easier to just go gray instead of maintain and apply color to my roots every three weeks to try and conceal grays. And I finally don’t mind how it looks.

2. I’ve reconciled with my height—the fact that I’m short and any hope of a growth spurt is decades past me. I’m now good with the idea that I won’t even make five foot with heels on because I’m clumsy, usually in a hurry, and quite frankly flats are much more comfortable! I’ve also learned to give grace to my oldest daughter who constantly rubs it in that she’s “reached” her goal and passed me up by a few inches!!

But after way too long of wearyingly tackling those self-made acceptance boosts, unsurprisingly Satan’s blind-sided maneuvers have discreetly slid in (almost like clockwork) with growing irritation in an unavoidable way.

I’m not sure how this came about but in more recent months I’ve now traded the above issues and instead began “picking” on my intellect. I’ve noticed that whether in a small group or large group setting, if the spot light is on me, I’ll give very brief descriptions or answers out of fear my words or stories don’t make sense otherwise.

This is a problem because it causes me to feel self-conscious. I begin feeding into lies like I’m not educated enough for this conversation. I don’t have enough knowledge to respond. My feedback isn’t going to be interesting enough…and as a result I shutdown.

Coming to grips with the idea of this new anxiety I realize I can’t allow it to continue.

I refuse to give Satan the satisfaction of messing with me.

I’ve had to dig to understand where this is rooting from and how to overcome…

I struggle with PTSD from my childhood and in those moments where I wrestle through flashbacks from those younger years it can be tough to not get stuck in the negative memory of it all. Because of my faith in Jesus I’m usually able to quickly identify when my mind is nearing a dark memory lane and I can cut to a happier path mentally.

In those instances I’m able to consider that my life is new because of Jesus. I’m not that old person anymore. I’m forgiven because of Him. None of the yuck from my childhood was what I asked for BUT God has been able to use it for His purpose. Those truths transition my focus toward a positive mindset.

When I think about getting over this new hurdle, this one where I’ve been beating myself up about feeling “not enough” I know that I can only overcome the lies through Jesus and what He says is true about me, similar to the way I handle those childhood flashbacks. I have to remember that God does the following things for me:

He loves me unconditionally. (Romans 8:37-39)

He equips me. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

He gives me wisdom. (James 1:5)

He defines me. (Psalm 139:14)

He has chosen me. (1 Peter 2:9)

These things are not up to me to come up with on my own, they’ve been offered by a loving and compassionate God—all things from and of Him.

Image from YouVersion Bible app

The same way that I can move and think past any negative I experienced as a child, will be and is the same way I can escape from Satan’s deceptive practices…focusing on the truths (not the lies) ushers in a positive mindset.

Maybe you can or have been able to relate to what I’ve been experiencing. Honesty and sharing our struggles with others speaks volumes of healing. I pray you would join me in fighting against the lies of “not enough” and embrace the steadfast truths felt in God’s amazing love and throughout His unfaltering word.

Side note: Here’s how awesome God works…in the heat of really discovering I was battling these new “not enough” lies, God provided. I had only shared with my very-supportive husband my struggle, so no one else knew. In that time, I showed up to a women’s event (a hidden mess inside) and was sitting at the same table as a sweet friend of mine who handed me a gift bag, inside was this t-shirt with much needed words of encouragement!!

Isn’t it awesome how God works? He used my friend’s love to speak exactly to my situation…only He can perfectly put things together in this way…only Him!!

There’s no reason to ever give up because God out-does the hardship every single time…if not now then Heaven-side.

Always Be Ready…

I spent last week in the beautiful sunshiny state of Florida.

Without even a close contender following, Florida is my most favorite place in the whole wide world. I try to go there every time I get to choose a vacation spot.

This time I was with my mama and my childhood best friend and then my best friend had invited one of her friends.

I’m a little apprehensive to write this post but for the sake of the point I’m trying to make from it I’m gonna go ahead…

I had a conversation while on vacation regarding faith…my Christian views were opposite from this other person’s beliefs. It’s easy and natural for me to discuss my beliefs when others are in agreement with what I believe but when their beliefs oppose mine the conversation that ensues can be kinda difficult.

I won’t go into large detail but there was talk of their “belief in Buddha” and also mention that they’d “never read nor want to read the Bible because it was written by man…and often times pastors are hypocritical.”

You guys!! The coolest thing happened right then and there though…I was actually able to respectfully share my view without stalling on my words. I’m forever saying that I’m a much better writer than talker but this day the Holy Spirit was all over the moment.

I simply (and kindly) responded something along these lines, “I actually don’t agree with that, the Bible notes that it’s the inspired word of God. Yes, true that pastors can be off because they’re only human, but a good pastor will challenge you to get in the word yourself and find out how it’s speaking to you. For me when I read in the beginning of the Bible and it talks about creation of the world and everything in it and how people came about, and I read about sin entering and forgiveness of sins because of Jesus’ mercy and grace, then I can’t not believe every single part of it. When I read it everything just makes sense to me. It’s like a puzzle that fits together perfectly from start to finish.”

I really don’t know if my words at the time made a difference but I can trust God to do His will and way with how He used me and in His own timing. Ultimately it’s always up to an individual to choose how they will respond to God’s invitation when they hear a message. Without being pushy I can only do my part and then leave it in God’s hands afterwards.

I wasn’t really expecting to have that conversation while vacationing in Florida but in the time since I’ve thought about how incredibly important it is to truly live out the verse from 1 Peter 3:15.

And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. —1 Peter 3:15

Situations like what I described above are why verses like 1 Peter 3:15 are included in God’s word.

As Christians we must be able to open up about our faith and sometimes even defend it, to know and trust what we believe, and be able to share that hope with others in a compassionate way.

As long as we’re breathing and communicating with others the opportunity to share our hope of Jesus always exist…doesn’t matter if we’re in the comfort of our own community or vacationing at our favorite getaway…as Christians we must be ready and willing to share our hope in Him!!

APPLICABLE VERSES:

But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. —1 Peter 3:16

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. —Colossians 4:5-6

Shining Like Stars

Subbing on Fridays seems to be a theme for me lately and that’s what I’m doing today. I like to be able to write and publish blog posts on Fridays too though, so in keeping up with that idea I’ve got a quick one to share!

My Bible reading plan has me in the book of Philippians right now and there are some verses in chapter 2 that have grabbed hold of my heart.

Philippians 2:14-16a—

‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.’

I’m not gonna spend tons of time breaking down these verses because I feel like they’re already as plain and simple as can be, which makes it easier to understand Paul’s point—it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to achieve but it’s definitely a good basis for positive instruction.

(You Version app pic)

I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes grumble and argue in the minor and major of life and I know I’m not alone in this…those (above) verses though pull us to veer away from that path and the result is that we “become” blameless and pure.

That word (become) reminds me that this is an ongoing process, we may not get it right every time but by “becoming” blameless and pure we’re headed in the right direction.

We don’t have to grab a magnifying glass to see that we live in a world that is exceptionally warped and crooked. Our obedience to God’s word can make such a difference; the verses I’ve noted go on to say that when we choose to abide, not grumbling or arguing, then we shine among unbelievers like stars in the sky!! And don’t we know that the light we shine is fully capable of pointing those who are without hope towards Him!!

Such a beautiful image!!

Have a blessed weekend—and be encouraged to follow those words from Philippians chapter 2 so that we may illuminate His amazing light for His purpose!!

Lessons From My Grandma’s Lifeline

On Easter evening my husband, and the kids and I stopped over to my grandma’s to visit for a bit. She was glad to see all of us together because typically it’s just me and one or two kiddos visiting at a time. I made sure she got something to eat for supper and we shared small talk and then went on home.

(Photo taken Easter 2021)

This visit with her makes me want to get better about making every moment count for “good” because you just never know…things can change quickly and without warning!

The next day after visiting my grandma, my mom called early…which isn’t at all normal because my mom would rather sleep till mid morning if the possibility exist…so I mentally braced myself for whatever news was to come.

She told me my grandma had gotten up to go to the bathroom in the early morning hours and had fallen. Her shoulder was broke and she was now in the hospital where she still is as of now.

Thank God when she fell she was wearing her lifeline necklace — the one she grumbled about last year when my mom insisted it’d be best she have one.

In case you don’t know what a lifeline necklace is, it’s this plastic electronic piece with a push button. If an emergency situation occurs the person needing assistance pushes the button and through a speaker system they communicate back and forth with a medical care specialist until help arrives.

Obviously we hoped my grandma wouldn’t have ever needed to use it BUT we are soooo incredibly thankful she had it when she desperately needed it.

I can’t help but think about that name —lifeline.

We all have access to one really…

Hebrews 4:16 says this, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Sounds like a pretty fitting lifeline right?

Approaching God’s throne’ is referring to the very truth that we’re invited to humbly yet boldly come to Him in prayer, trusting He will provide in His own perfect way.

Prayer is our lifeline which connects us to God. The beautiful thing is that we don’t have to wait for an urgent situation to arise in order to use it.

My grandma wore that lifeline necklace faithfully for the past year and it’s presence mattered, it helped her feel safer throughout the time she’s had it.

The same is true for us with prayer as our lifeline to God…BUT the difference is this— my grandma knew she had access to medical care through a push button device because it was a physical piece which she could see and feel.

Prayer, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily something we’re physically reminded to do. Instead we must make a regular, not meaningless, habit of using this lifeline to stay connected to God. Prayer isn’t something we should limit ourselves to only when we’re in dire need.

Let me tell you when my grandma was down, she was down physically and emotionally. She was scared in that moment and knowing her love for God I’m certain her thoughts went to Him. That lifeline hanging close to her heart was surely an answer to prayer in a literal form. She was reminded of it and reached her hand out and clasped hold, pushing that button for help.

That lifeline was something new for her in the sense of her declining health but a lifeline of prayer is something she’s held onto for years. In fact if it wasn’t for her strong faith I may still be lagging in my own.

With my grandma’s situation I’m reminded just how fragile life is. But my hope is placed in Jesus and you can bet I have been and will continue to use the lifeline of prayer in the ups and downs of this crazy thing we call life.

Maybe you’ve been struggling with something but haven’t thought to call out through your God-given lifeline, don’t waste another minute…God is on the other end and He longs to hear from you and comfort you with peace and direction.

Have a blessed weekend!!

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” -Philippians 3:20-21

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!!

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.

Choosing Well

This past week I witnessed my oldest daughter struggle in-between two big choices on each side of her.

She was asked to join her youth group this summer to attend a five-day Christian high school conference by the name of CIY Move, which she hasn’t ever gone to. This is an event held in different areas of the country and I’ve been told it’s absolutely an amazing experience. On the flip side that sweet little conference just happens to land on the very same week as our county fair, and Paige showing her animals for 4H is something she doesn’t take lightly. I remember one summer we were in the middle of moving and by a cluttered state of mind I didn’t get my kids signed up for 4H, I thought I was going to lose my role as mom over that deal!

Needless to say, given the idea these events both take place on the same week Paige would have to end up deciding on just one.

Choices are tough, especially as we age. They say, on average, people are presented with roughly 35,000 conscious choices in one single day goodness no wonder my ‘meat computer’ feels close to fried each evening!!

We choose what time we’re going to wake up in the morning. We choose our clothes…breakfast…hairstyle (this one’s easy for my bald husband). We choose our attitude, and whether we’ll smile, laugh, or frown.

Choices happen all day long, sometimes without us actually even giving much thought at all. I like to think of these as ordinary, everyday choices.

But then there’s those tough decisions, like what my daughter faced this week. I honestly cringed at the idea when I knew I was going to have to let Paige know these two ‘very-important-to her-events’ are happening the same week this summer and she’d have to choose between the two.

You bet when I finally told her, the good old fifteen-year-old floodgates poured open. She took herself and the news straight to her bedroom where I figured she’d remain for the afternoon without any desire to talk this over — ever. BUT when I went to check up on her a bit later she was actually holding up maturely and had let me know she was going to visit with her youth group leader to get her input.

Paige was already beginning the steps of choosing well in what impacted her as a big decision! And she was doing it with a good attitude! As a mom, this is exactly what I wanted to witness.

Decisions like Paige’s often times carry pros and cons and these are definitely worth considering before choosing one way or another.

There are some key Bible verses I like to reflect on when I’m overwhelmed by choice-making:

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Perspective is also important, because even though either of Paige’s two choices would’ve been fine it really comes down to having a glass half-full attitude rather than a glass-half empty one.

We can choose to see the good in all things. Even when the news of cancer comes, we can choose to recognize that God offers the most important healing for our souls in that circumstance. When the decision to move our family from one place to another seems unfavorable but necessary we can choose to remember God will come along regardless. When the pregnancy results in a miscarriage leaving an empty womb, we can choose to trust that God longs to fill our hearts with comfort, growth, and strength in Him.

Those are the tough things — but it comes down to choosing well even in the midst of chaos. When we feel nothing is left we must choose to remember, surrender, and obey to God’s perfect will — choose to believe in His unconditional love for us no matter what else is happening. He already has everything figured out anyway.

And when we miss the better choice we can come humbly to God, rest assured He holds us in the palm of His hands and will show us the better way still. After all we’re perfectly chosen by Him who makes no mistakes. He is the Corrector and Perfecter of all things and no doubt about it — choosing God, His way, and His direction will always be our best decision and can help guide us in everything else.

When I spoke with Paige later that evening she confidently told me she’d decided she was going to CIY this summer. When I asked her what helped her decide so assuredly she simply responded, ‘I just knew I wanted God to come first and felt this was the better choice.’

Oh how this mama’s heart chooses to swell with joy over that beautiful decision…I can’t wait to see how God is going to MOVE in the lives of those teens that week!