Sunday, October 2, 2016

My almost 40 life crisis

So for those of you I keep up with on a regular basis, you know I have been claiming to have an almost 40 life crisis.  So here is how the story goes, well my version of the story.

This passed Friday, I got dressed for work.  I chose a shirt that had been hanging in my closet over a year.  I found it on the sale rack at the feed store.  I thought it was cute,  it is a black, of course, with  3/4 length sleeves and a lace trim.  It has been hanging in my closet with tags on it because, I just never had anything to wear with it.  I finally broke down and wore it on casual Friday with jeans.  I looked in the mirror and from the front, it looked cute, and BONUS, it covered my chubby rolls. I felt good!  That is until I got home.  When I stopped at my mother in laws house to pick up my daughter she said, "Miranda!  Your back and bra are showing!"  What? my voice at first as if this were a joke, but one look at her face and then I said again, WHAT? this time with terror in my voice.  I have been in this all day!  Are you serious?  She snapped this picture:

My mind is racing.  I AM LIKE THE PEOPLE OF WALMART!  Almost 40 year old chubby moms, DO NOT let this hang out AT WORK!!!  I work for a prestigious law firm, known for a well know CHRISTIAN endorsement.  This was beyond embarrassing.  I never once turned and looked at my back in the mirror.  I was embarrassed and I felt totally stupid.  So then I called my much younger, 20 year co-worker and said, why did not you not tell me I was uncovered!  She is dying laughing on the other end, as I gave her these future instructions: if I have toilet paper hanging off my butt or IF THINGS ARE SHOWING that should not be showing PLEASE tell me.  Her response was, "I just thought you were being risky!"  RISKY RISKY!  I am a chubby almost 40 year old mom, risky is staying up past 10 on a school night not showing my back AT WORK ALL DAY!  Then in my mind I made the courageous decision to call my boss and apologizing for not looking at my back in the mirror and potentially being totally inappropriate at work all day.  Thank God for grace because the laughter ensued and the comment," I just thought you were going clubbing," was made.

OH dear Jesus, no thank you!

Fast forward to Sunday.  I have signed my daughter and I up for this Bible based program called daughters of the King, or better known as Club DOK.  Club DOK is a Bible based program that teaches what God says about Modesty and character.  Today's lesson, outer beauty.  This program is  for 4th and 5th grade girls, and it is to help them focus on what God says about them not what the world has to say.  Today the object lesson was this, take two post it notes. On note 1 write something you are insecure about regarding your outer appearance. On note 2 write something you like about your appearance.  Then there was a ceremonial tearing and throwing away of note 1, AKA the insecurity, but coupled with that, the girls had to stand in front of the mirror and say that they were created by God, and they were created to be the way HE wanted.

Now, I can give you a lot of scripture about being Chosen by God.  I can tell you and have in other blogs, that flaws are natural and God knew them and still chose you.  But there is something to say, when you hear what I heard today.....  After the mirror each mother and daughter were given two sheets of paper, one was about ourselves, and the other was about either mom if you are the daughter, or daughter if you are the mom.  We were instructed to write 5 things down that we like about the outer beauty of each other and ourselves.  As I sat there thinking, and thinking of the things I liked about myself, the lady gave an example: maybe it is I feel cute in a certain outfit.  WELL,in light of Friday that wasn't going to work for me because, I felt cute until I realized it had no back!  BUT, in that moment, I turned to my daughter and this is what she was writing about me:

I love my mom's T-rex arms.
I love that my mom is short......

My daughter had listed everyone of my insecurities out on her page as things she really loved about me.  Now if you have never met my girl, she is kind and loving, sensitive and sweet, the polar opposite of me in so many ways.  Her heart is not dark, like mine can be, she doesn't see flaws or imperfections as a stumbling blocks.  She truly sees the world with the eyes of God.  She sees potential and value.  She sees value in all of my insecurities. 

It was like she set a lightbulb off in me.  I can't help but think God is and has been teaching me something in my almost 40 life crisis.  He keeps telling me to stop looking at all the flaws; stop obsessing over the things that are not perfect, stopping looking for something to be wrong and look at the potential.  For those moms out there, who are working so hard to find a balance in life, thinking that there is this perfect place, but you are just missing it, I am here to say there is no perfect place this side of heaven.  There is one flaw after imperfection after mistake, after flaw, after imperfection, and mistake again and again.  The only thing we can hope in is to know the love of Jesus, who sees us as potential.  He sees us as valuable, just as we are, and sometimes we are lucky to get a glimpse of His sweet reminders in the most unlikely places.

Proverbs 31:28

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her...."

Maybe in the midst of the hurry, and the midst of the imperfections and flaws, we are missing the REAL things that bless our children and families.

This week, I hope and pray that you can experience the blessing, even if it comes in T-rex arms and a short package.

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

 14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, June 13, 2016

A lesson in trust

Have you ever been in the place where God is yelling at you: MOVE!  A place where it is undeniable that it is time to get out of your comfort zone and do something in HIS will.  That is where I am right now. 

Joshua 1: 9 says: "Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I use this verse all the time. I tell my daughter, don't be afraid, God is with you wherever you go.  I say things like be strong and have courage.  You are not alone, God is always with you, and then I send her off to do this or that, and expect her to have the courage to do whatever I've asked her to.

Then there is me.  I make plans.  I put my ducks in a row.  Some may even say I like to control things.  I like my schedule, and I like my box.  Have you ever noticed, that is NOT how God works?  God almost never picks the likely person for the job.  David, the youngest of all Jesse's sons will be King.  David also the smallest soldier will slay the giant.  Saul a well known persecutor of Christians, is set apart and changed to Paul to be a major proponent of the Gospel and writer of several New Testament books.  Gideon, self proclaimed weakest of the weak, is sent to lead an army of men.  Jonah a guy who can't stand the people of Nineveh is the messenger God uses to give them one more chance.  All of this to say, God does not call us to be in a comfortable box.  He calls us to listen and obey when He is ready to move.

As the story goes, it was the last week of school.  As the Director of Development I was already preparing for back to school.  I was setting up fundraising dates and beginning of the year events.  Then God gave me a hiccup.  I was informed that my job may be either eliminated or modified based on necessary budget cuts. My immediate response was this, I am going to take a couple of weeks to think about how I want to proceed, and I am going to pray about it.  My words were exactly this, I want to make an intentional decision, not a reactional decision.  Having said that, I began to think and pray about what God's will was for me. I had no idea what to do.

The Bible says:

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
"Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him."  James 1:5

This is what God gave me.  He gave me a church sermon called: What to do when you don't know what to do.  I have told this story a couple of times and it was like the lights dimmed and the spot light was on me, and the voice of the Lord, which sounds like James Earl Jones in my head, said, MIRANDA...... listen.  By the end of the sermon, I was crying and I knew what I needed to do.  I knew that I needed to resign from the comfortable spot I was in.  I knew God wasn't just hinting around, he was ready for me to MOVE.

The thing is, it was a hard decision because there is a guilt (Not of GOD) about leaving work in a Church/ Christian environment.   There is also a Spiritual blanket that people cover themselves with, saying that they are doing the Lords work so they need to stay, even when it is time to move on.  I don't think either of these mentalities represent what God wants us to feel.  I think He wants us to listen to Him, be passionate about Him, and then move as HE sees necessary, especially when it is outside the church walls.  If we never move out, how can we bring people in?

In my decision to MOVE there are a few things God laid on my heart:

1) God is not a God of left overs.  I have a thing about left overs.  It is my personal hang up.  I think I often get the left overs and settle for them, because that is what I THINK I deserve.  God is clear in his plans for us.
Jeremiah 29-11 says: For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
His plan is greater than I could ask or imagine, and God does not want me to stay, for staying sake.  He wants me to move, to grow, and to continue to be refined by HIS plan, not my own.  Some one told me to have faith, and that is what I am doing, taking a leap of faith that God's plan for me is so much better than the plan I had in mind.

2)  God wants me to Trust HIM in everything, and not pick and choose when and where I want to.  The thing about this whole situation was I had a plan.  That plan included Christian education for my daughter.  It included keeping her in what I deemed a safe environment where I know everyone.  God was clear on this, as He put it on my heart, that controlling Mackenzi only limits the opportunities God has to grow her and bless her.  That if I truly give up Mackenzi and trust God with her future, she will be far better off than any plan I had for her.  Trust is not something I fall into easily, and especially not with my precious daughter.   I keep reading the Psalms over and over looking at verses to remind me, God is my/her protector, He is my/her shield and my/her rock, and that His love is never ending.  In the midst of all this change and chaos, I have peace, and know that trusting God with Mackenzi is so much wiser than trying to control a plan that isn't His.

3) God wants me to TRUST HIM.... just incase you didn't catch it the first time.   It is not only the plan for Mackenzi, but it is the job and plan for me.  I have to work.  Turning in a resignation with no job, is CRAZY in my book, BUT GOD, well He works in a different economy.   My God is not only a protector, a shield, and a rock, but HE IS A PROVIDER.  I turned in my resignation and emailed a few of my contacts.  God is so good that with in the first 10 minutes I had two responses, and a third followed later.  I received a request to talk, a request for my resume, and a job offer.  THAT IS GOD!  He confirmed my decision many times over, and has helped remind me that TRUSTING GOD is the safest place to be.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3;5-6

God is moving in my life right now, and the truth is all I can do is trust Him and watch where He is taking me.   He continues to give me confirmation in so many places and people.  A sermon just this week  on NO REGRETS confirming that a life of no regrets, is a life that perseveres TRUSTING in God.  God is really with me wherever I go, and He is so good!

This is my story and I hope that it blesses you.  We live in a crazy world where  many people are lost.  I hope in some small way, this tiny real life story will encourage you to TRUST in Jesus today.  He is the author of love and the creator of hope.  Until next time I leave you with this prayer:
16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. Ephesians 1:15-19

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

End of the Year word of Encouragement

I was asked to give a devotion for the teachers.  Here is what I said:
As we near the end of the year, often we enter a time of reflection.  What was good about this year and what was bad.  We think about what we should of done or could have done.  We look to our graduating seniors and we want to send them off with hope for a bright future.  We want to encourage them to take on the world.   I don’t know about you but when I look in the mirror at this time of the year, I find I am without.  I am tired.  I am done.  I want school to be over soooooooo bad I can taste it.  I am not full of hope or encouragement, I am full of survival.  I am just surviving.

Then I came across these verses:

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” 

You see so many times in life, I am unsure.  I make decision after decision for my home, for my family, for my job and most of the time it is an educated guess.  Earlier this year I was reveling in a mistake walking around telling myself how foolish I was and basically telling myself I was no good for making it.  Then I had an epiphany!  If I am truly living my calling, in this job, in my home, and as a parent; then I am exactly the one God has chosen.  You see, God knew before time.  He knew that I was going to be in this position; He knew that he was giving me a family and home to care for.  His knowing all of these things also means that He knew my flaws and picked me anyway.  I am hopelessly flawed.   He knew.  He knew that I would make mistakes, but He picked me anyway.

I am chosen and so are you,  and as a chosen followers of Christ, He asks  us to love my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength.  He doesn’t ask for  perfection.   He doesn’t expect it.  He wants us to trust him, and love him.  He wants us to take His words and hide them in my heart,  for those times when we question what am I doing.  He wants us to use HIS words about us and His calling for on our lives, so that in Him we can be secure, not in ourselves.

Then as we settle into the security of knowing we are chosen, He says, “Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up .”   I love that!  As teachers you get to repeat this to His children everyday.  You get to share His truth, but today, you need to take His word, and believe it for yourself.

One thing I have learned over my Christian years is that the world will fill you up with everything that is wrong.  The world will tell you, you are failing.  It will say you are fat.  It will say you are not beautiful.  It will give you an excuse to not try.  It will celebrate your failure and reward your laziness.  BUT GOD has a very different view of His chosen ones.  God says all things are possible for those in Christ Jesus.  He will say that we are loved with an everlasting love.  Psalms 91:11 says “He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.”  Did you hear that, the GOD of the UNIVERSE orders His Angels to protect YOU! The Lord says ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened.  He says that condemnation is not for those in Christ Jesus.  If you talk about God’s word all the time, then there is no room for the condemnation and negativity of the world.  “Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”    In other words, live the words God gives you every day!  Do not conform to the patterns or words of the world, but be renewed by God's word as your guide and as your value.

As we close out this year, while we may be tired, and while we may feel defeated.  We may need school to be over soooooo bad we can taste it.  I say let’s finish strong and in truth.  Let’s show our students that even until the end we can be an example of God’s word.  Let’s show them that the future is bright and promising, and that even in our flaws, God has chosen us to love Him, to Love one another, and to Trust His plan for us.