Monthly Archives: April 2014

Integrity

C. S. Lewis says, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

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That Awkward Moment When…

Dear People Who Keep Asking Me When My Baby Is Due,

I’m.  Not.  Pregnant.

And when I tell you that, the appropriate response is NOT “Are you sure?” or “Are you serious?”

Yes.  I am 100% positive that I am 100% not pregnant.

I am also positive that your only response to this news should be, “I am so sorry.  I am an idiot.”  I might try to assure you that it’s okay, I get this all of the time; or I might just agree with you one of these days.

I feel like this is one of those things you should know better than to ask because you did it once when you were five and your mom was so embarrassed that she drilled it into your head how improper it was that you never did it again.

Look, I know I have a “glow” and my stomach is both pronounced and smooth looking.  I’m beautiful and confident and that does come out in my countenance.  I also wear Spanx because my stomach is always the last (and slowest) part of me that loses weight and when I’m wearing a dress I feel like it’s not very flattering to just let it all hang there.

But I’m not pregnant.  And because I’m in the middle of major weight loss, I’m not offended that you think I am.  I DO think it’s incredibly awkward, and I end up feeling like I’m the one who has to make it less awkward for you.  How is that?!

It would help a lot if people just didn’t ask.  Even if I am pregnant, is it really any of your business when I’m due?  We’re not friends: I’m a customer in your line, or you’re a customer in mine, and it’s just not something we need to talk about.

Deal?

 

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When Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

“The satisfied soul loathes honey, but to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet” (Proverbs 27:7).

I really thought that I had tackled the big distraction at the beginning of this week, when I resisted making my own favorite meal.  Now, those stupid snack crackers are more appealing than ever.  (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this post first).

I’ve been going back and forth about these snack crackers all week.  All I can say is that by 3pm today, I had myself completely convinced that those snack crackers would be just as satisfying and nutritious as my favorite meal.

After all, “to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.”  That right there comes from the wisest man on earth.  So if I were to end up eating the snack crackers and believing they are good for me, it’s really God’s fault for making me wait so long.

Does He really expect me to pass up opportunity after opportunity (good and not-so-good) in order to follow Him to an unknown future where similar opportunities may not even exist?

Actually, I think He does.

Still, these snack crackers are not about to be resisted without a fight.  That stinks a little for me, because I’m fighting pretty hard as it is just waiting on God for that nourishment and satisfaction, without watching good-enough things pass by.

Sigh.

This season.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, And my faith will be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior.”

“Til You are my One Desire , Til You are my One True Love, Til You are my Breath, my Everything, Lord please keep making me.”

Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out

“Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 33:23).  My parents used to say that to me all of the time, and when I read this article, or any article involving such heinous sin in Christian leadership, I think of this.

Christian leaders who are involved in unrepentant sin, you can be sure, you can be very sure that your sin will be exposed. Maybe you really think you’re getting away with it because you’re above everybody else and you make the rules and you don’t answer to anyone, and maybe you’ll continue getting away with it for a long time.  But it will come out. You can take that to the bank and cash it.

And when it does come out (it will, it will, it will), you will lose everything, because nobody buys a politically correct statement that lacks sincerity (and by that point) credibility.  Because there is nothing respectable or honorable or worthy or defensible in using your position to inappropriately touch anyone. Not ever. I don’t care what you say your intentions are.  And neither does anybody else.

Be sure, if you are sure of nothing else, that your sin will come out. And you will bear its consequences.

I’ll leave you with just one other verse: “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11).

 

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Remain Open

I don’t think I’ve ever changed my mind so much as I did this morning.  I’m pretty sure my brain is fried.

Here’s the story.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I began asking God to open a very specific door for me.  After a few months, the door opened, and I was poised to walk through it.  The week the door opened, I had a dream that I really believe was a vision from God for my life.  One morning, I was reflecting about this door and this vision, and God told me, “You can have this if you really want it, but I have better for you if you just wait for Me.”  I made a choice to trust God that morning, and little by little the vision for what God wants for me has become sharper and sharper.

Doors upon doors have been closed for me.  This week, though, I was faced with yet another open door.   A door that made perfect sense, except as I prayed about it, I had no peace about walking through it.  I felt like God was saying, “This isn’t it.  Keep walking.”

And that’s what I had every intention of doing.  I got to where I was going this morning and I found myself reasoning, “Well, it’s not like this is a bad opportunity.”

Then I’d come back with, “It is if it keeps me from what God wants for me.”

“How can God not want this for me?”

It would be easier than more waiting, more walking.  The feeling that it’s not quite right is easy enough to bury given enough busy-ness or the justification that it’s a good thing.  I mean, technically, since God is prompting me to say now, it’s sin, but it’s … a good thing.

But I can’t do it.  I have to keep going just to see what God has in store, because I can’t see two feet in front of me right now. I have to believe He has told me “no” for a good reason, just like He did thirteen months ago. So I’m going to keep walking and remain open for whatever God has in store for me, even if it’s just more of what I’m doing right now.   He’ll bring that vision about if and when He wants.

I just have to trust and obey.  And remain open for the right opportunities.

And write a bajillion more blogs about waiting and waiting on God and transience and interim seasons and endurance and patience and faith and obedience and things that don’t make sense and all that good stuff God is teaching me through this.

Yup.

 

 

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Feast, Perfectly Adequate Meal, Snack Crackers: (More) Thoughts On Waiting

(I was cooking again today).

Let’s say you’re about to make yourself a sandwich with a side of apple slices and a tall glass of water.

“Wait,” says your mom, “I’m making your very favorite meal in just a little bit.”

So you put all of the stuff for your sandwich away, because it’s your mom and you believe her, and you’d rather wait for your favorite meal anyway.

Several hours pass, and you’re getting hungry again.  Well, to be honest, you never stopped being hungry to begin with, you were just distracted by the prospect of something better.  Your mom is nowhere to be found, even though she said she was going to make your favorite meal in the world.  You’re starting to doubt whether she’ll make a meal at all, let alone your favorite.

Finally, you get tired of waiting, and you decide to make that sandwich anyway, except you open the refrigerator and discover that your little sister has used up all of the sandwich fixings on her own sandwich.  You’re a little bit angry at her, even though you reason with yourself that you shouldn’t be: after all, you’re the one who didn’t capitalize on that sandwich opportunity.  After all, what’s wrong with a sandwich? Your little sister certainly couldn’t tell you.

As you turn these hard, cold facts over in your mind, you spy a box of  crackers in the pantry.

Hmm.

You don’t particularly like crackers, and ugh, these ones happen to be filled with peanut butter of all things.  And if there is one thing you can’t abide, it’s peanut butter…on your crackers.

But there isn’t anything else.  It’s not like you can eat a sandwich.  It’s too late for that.  You just want something.

In the back of your head, however, there is this annoying thought that won’t go away: there is absolutely no nutritional value in these crackers.  They might satisfy your hunger temporarily, but they will do nothing for you, except maybe make you less hungry for your favorite meal that you’ve been promised.

You storm out of the pantry feeling jaded.  If you had known your mom was going to take this long, you would have eaten the sandwich.  No thanks to her, that option isn’t available to you anymore.

The thought occurs to you that you could make your own meal, but you know you’re not quite the cook your mom is, and it just won’t be the same.

Although your mom and the promised meal are nowhere in sight, the best thing to do is to wait for your mom to make and serve your favorite meal.  None of the other options are quite as right as that one, none will bring you the same level of satisfaction.  And you know it.

That’s why you didn’t eat the sandwich.

And that’s why you continue to hold out for that favorite meal.

And until your mom makes that meal, you have to keep reminding yourself of that.

Because, really, would your mom let you starve? Would she wittingly turn you away from something good, if she didn’t want to give you something better?

Depends on your mom, I guess… 😉

Fortunately, we’re not talking about your mom, or sandwiches, or snack crackers.

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I Struggle Promoting Myself

I struggle promoting myself.  A little over a month ago, I self-published my very first book: The Field.  Initially I talked about it quite a bit (for me, at least), but I’ve sort of stopped promoting it.  Like it’s not worth promoting or something.

Here’s the thing: we all know it’s not the best thing I’m ever going to write.  I have overstated that.

What I have not stated enough is that I believe in what I’ve written.  I believe in the themes of restoration, grace and spiritual warfare my book promotes.  I believe I have tackled these themes from a distinctly feminine point of view and have created strong female characters.  I believe that there is a need for this book that I have written, both for its themes and characters.  I believe that this book will speak to many people who read it.

Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of The Field here through June 30th, 2014 or purchase your copy today.

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What About Seattle?

I hear this question sometimes.  People remind me at the most inconvenient times, like when I’m about to interview for my dream job locally, and a tiny thought begins to gnaw at me:  Is it really my dream job if it’s not in Seattle?  Maybe on this one thing (relocating to Seattle), God and I are on the same page.

I haven’t forgotten about Seattle.  I really and truly believe God will bring me there at some point in my life.  (Full disclosure: I’ve been wrong before).

But I am here right now, and I don’t know when God plans on me going to Seattle.  Circumstances of late with closing DFW doors make me hope it’s soon, and of course, it’s my prayer to be there by the end of the year, but we all know God’s timing is not mine.

Another thing has come up over the past couple of weeks (not a job), and it’s something that would be good for me to do.   It’s something I enjoy, something I’m good at, something that just makes sense.  Only, it doesn’t make sense if I’m going to be relocated to Seattle in the next few months.

I can’t say with any certainty that I am, by the way.  God hasn’t given me any dates along with this vision to be in Seattle, just a sense that’s where I’m headed at this point.  I don’t want to be side-tracked from all He has for me, but I also don’t want to miss out on what He wants now because I’m so future-focused.  (And future-focused on something I’m not 100% positive is going to happen).

As I’m writing this, though, the more I feel like I am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing right now.  Like, I need to take things day by day, and not settle into any long term commitments here.  And that stinks, because if there’s anything I’m beyond ready for, it’s long term commitment.

Sigh.

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Not My Own

This morning at Vintage Church McKinney, we started a series called “Famous Last Words.”  We looked at the words of Jesus as He prayed at Gethsemane, “Not My will, but Yours.”  There was a lot of talk about surrender, submission, and dying to self; the battle between our wills and God’s; the cost of following Jesus.

At one point we looked at Galatians 2:20, which says, “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live for the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Last year, as I was meditating on God’s presence, the phrase “Christ lives in me” took on a new meaning.  He makes his residence in me.  He is with me wherever I am.

This year, I’m looking at a new part of the verse: “I live for the Son of God.” Because I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, my existence centers around Him.

This means this life is not about me.  It’s not about how I feel.  It’s not about my desires.  It’s not about what I have to offer.  It’s not about where I think I should be or what I think I should be doing.  It’s not about when someone steps on my toes or downright wrongs me.

To a much lesser extent, it means this life is not about other people.  (Gasp).  It’s not about what others feel.  It’s not about what others desire or want from me.  It’s not about what I can do for them.  It’s not about where others think I should be or what I should be doing.  It’s not about never offending people.

It’s about Christ.  It’s about what He feels.  It’s about what He desires.  It’s about what He has given me.  It’s about where He wants me and what He wants me doing.  It’s about not offending and wronging Him.

HE is paramount.

Now, I should state for the record (before I get chewed out by my readers): living for Christ will absolutely, beyond any shadow of any doubt involve serving and caring for others.  It absolutely involves living at peace with others, “as much as it depends on me” (Romans 12:18).  It may also include times of personal retreat to replenish myself in Him; to take care of health issues; to process life stuff in general.

None of these things are bad; they’re necessary.  But when I am doing anything for ANY reason other than God calling me to do it, it’s wrong.  It’s wrong because my life is supposed to be HIS – not someone else’s, and certainly not mine.

After all, “I am not my own.  I have been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19b, paraphrased).

I feel like this is my lesson never fully learned.  It’s not about anyone or anything besides Christ.

Oh well. I suppose I will get there someday.  (Maybe?? Hopefully??)

 

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With The Future In Mind

I watched a short called ReMoved on the Relevant site a few weeks ago.  (Watch it here).

It hit me in the gut for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is that God has laid it on my heart to someday foster (and adopt) children.  It is something I regularly pray for my future husband and I.

The week I saw this short film, I was dealing with things from my past (and I suppose present to a certain extent) – a lot of pain and anger.  And I’d been wondering why it was so important for me to have gone through the pain in the past, and why it is so important for me to deal with the anger now.  I wondered why God hadn’t intervened in the past and why He  has forced me to confront what I’ve been through.

As I watched this film,  I felt God tug at my heart: This is why, He whispered.  In order to minister to the children I bring to you,  you need to understand where they are coming from.

In a place even the closest to me have not always been privileged to see, God is teaching me to love hurting individuals, who’ve been wounded by something warped and twisted that parades itself as love.   In a place of sticking to very difficult things, God is teaching me to persist in loving hurting people who are continually lashing out at me.   God is teaching me to be a continual outpouring of His love, His goodness, His righteousness, His grace; to walk with people, I mean really walk with people, even when it gets ugly; and to obey Him, to be exactly who and where He wants me to be.

Every part of my story He has written with the future in mind.

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