I Am Not Afraid…

“The reason why we look so crazy as Christians, is because we see a world that the rest don’t see. We see a God-bathed world in which we are perfectly safe. So safe, so set free from fear that we can even love our enemies without thought of the consequences.”
– Skye Jethani

My friend, Chris, just posted this quote on Facebook and it floored me.

I’ve been told more than once, that my optimistic view of life is annoying.  Though I don’t actually see myself as an optimist.  I’m definitely a pessimist (though those who called me annoying are).  I’m actually very much a realist.  I see a problem and try to work to resolve it.  I don’t leave it be figuring that it will just work itself out or even that God will work that problem out for me.

I’m a realist, but I’m a realist who sees everything through God’s eyes – or at least I attempt to.  That doesn’t absolve me of responsibility.  I’m definitely at the root of many of my problems.  If my kids veg in front of the TV all day – that my fault.  I can’t blame their insane behavior on anyone buy my own self for allowing them to veg instead of going to do something active – like play in a park (which we will be doing shortly).

When everything is crashing around me, I have a very steady God to hold on to through my storm.  Our sermon at Fairmount this past week focused on God being our ROCK!  It is that concept that has allowed me to face divorce at 22 when I didn’t believe it was God’s will.  It is that concept that keeps my head above water when I look in the mirror and see the parts of me I don’t like – the mom who yells even though she doesn’t want to; the wife who isn’t affectionate; the daughter who doesn’t call as often as she should; the friend who doesn’t “show up” when another friend is in real need.

There are so many things that we face that are dead scary – the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, a marriage crumbling…  And some things that are exciting scary – like the fact that I’m going to meet with the math supervisor for Henrico County Schools this Friday to see what’s next for me in getting into the classroom in the next couple years.

BUT GOD… If you are are follower of Christ – a Christian not just in name, but in action – then every scary thing isn’t a desolate place where you are alone.  GOD is with you.

God was with me in high school when I watched a friend die from a vicious cancer that ate him to pieces and took his life.

God was with me when I laid on a floor, brokenhearted, at 19 years old wishing that the boy I loved more than my own salvation (totally dangerous territory) would just love me in return.

God was with me when I rebounded (i.e rushed like a roaring freight train) into a marriage to a man who was everything I’d ever prayed for, yet couldn’t let go of his own perfection to see that marriage is HARD and we were both at fault for our issues so he walked away and took every penny.

God was with me when I made decisions out of His will that will affect my life every day for the rest of my life – decisions that I pray daily that he will take control of the results and help walk me through the consequences, good and bad.

God was with me when I found out I was pregnant earlier in my marriage than we’d planned and that pregnancy derailed all my plans for my future.

God was with me as I looked into the face of that beautiful child and promised her that I’d let her down over and over, but that I’d teach her about our forgiving, loving God who would keep me afloat with every parenting failure.

God was with me when my best friend was in another state facing a cancer trial, then died before I’d bought my ticket to go see her.  God was with me as I faced down that guilt from the failure of “showing up”.

God was with me when I was thinking that I needed some sort of job and he opened a door to a classroom at North Run and invited me to walk through it.

And God will be with me no matter what comes next…

I am not afraid because I’m able to look out into the world and see every person as one that God loves.  If I look at my enemy as a creation of God, how can I spit in their face?

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, let’s talk.  Because being afraid of this world is a hard way to live.  And don’t get me wrong – I know that more bad is in my path and I just can’t see it yet.  I know that Satan will work harder today to get me to fail because I’ve posted about God being my rock and trying to live my life following Jesus.  Again, I see the reality of this world… but my faith in my amazing God allows me to say to Satan, “Bring it on.”  (Whew!  That’s a scary thing to really put out there in a real way!)

I’m not a perfect Christian.  I’ll say that over and over again.  But I have a real hope to attain perfection someday in Heaven and I’d love to share that with you.  Call me a crazy Christian – it’s a label I’ll wear with pride 🙂

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Ministering Through My Mess

Here We Go Again (take what?)

I named my blog.

It’s called Ministering Through My Mess.

It’s a line I used back in the Spring when I spoke at my church’s Ladies Salad Banquet and it really stuck with me.

See, I have GREAT intentions on being a blogger that you’ll want to follow.  That you’ll wait anxiously to see what I’m going to share next.  I have a couple blogs that I’ve read faithfully for years, though as the kids get older and no one sleeps on my lap at the computer comfortably while I peruse I don’t even have time to read those.
Anyway, I WANT to be a blogger – the real deal – the person who gets PAID to sit and write what is on my mind.  But to do that, you have to blog regularly (not once a year) and you have to have followers that are total strangers and still suggest you to their friends.  Your posts have to be shared far and wide – enough so to attract sponsors that will pay you to use their products and then write a post promoting them.
I’m so not there…

My world is messy.  The world I live in and my personal world.  I’m a total mess!  I don’t cook well, though I do try and none of us is underfed.  I don’t clean well – I’m not being humble. I’m awful at cleaning and I’m lazy about cleaning so putting those two together is a bit disastrous. (Yet the mess makes me crazy & stressed out so you’d think I’d work on this more.)  My kids are constantly needing me making concentration very difficult.  I’ve already walked away from the computer three times to answer their needs just writing these few paragraphs.

BUT, I believe that God has called me to teach and to share.  I believe that God knows I’m pretty much an open book (He made me, so, duh) and He’s desiring to use that to reach others through me and my mess so that they’ll be drawn to him.  And I love that He’s like that. That He designs us to be who we are, but then expects to use who we are to reflect Him.

I posted an edited picture on Facebook today that was actually two pictures.  Here it is along with what my “caption” is:

Perfection vs Reality 2

Because it’s too important to keep it in focus…
Posting the top picture gives the image of a sister and brother
walking harmoniously down an wooded path.

In reality, little brother wanted NOTHING to do with taking such a sweet picture.
I had to bribe him to do it so that I’d get that sweet picture to cherish for years.

So much of our online personality is edited. Maybe not to impress others
or even to intentionally give a wrong impression.

But who wants to see kids fighting and mom as a sweaty mess?
(Yes, I should’ve taken a selfie for some real reality.)
No one has a perfect life or perfect family and I definitely don’t.

My life is messy, but God wants to use it.

My kids aren’t perfect, but God made them cute and they sure seem perfect when they are asleep (haha).

My marriage isn’t perfect, but God is still at work in it because I invite him there every single day.

So, I’m going to give this writing thing a go again.  Yes, again.
I’m actually going to SCHEDULE time to sit and type my thoughts.
Hopefully you’ll join me for it.

Also – a quick plug for an event I’m taking part in (again).
Oak Hill Christian Service Camp is hosting its second Ladies Day/Women’s Retreat and I’m teaching a break out session.  I’d love for you to come.
It does cost money, but it is money well spent and you’ll be blessed.
You don’t even have to choose my session!  There are four and you only get to pick two.
Pick the two that you think you need the most (class titles and descriptions on the website).  Here, check it out:
Oak Hill Camp Ladies Day