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John 20:11-18

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Jesus was not hiding from Mary, but she did not recognize Him until He said her name. He was not hiding from Mary and He does not hide from us. We search and search for the one thing that will fill that void inside of us and He is right in front of us waiting for us to recognize Him. We desperately try to find happiness and love through drugs, sex, alcohol, empty relationships, work, food, etc. and Jesus stands just behind us asking, “who are you looking for?” We try to find happiness and love in all the wrong places. All the while, we suffer from loneliness, broken hearts, grief, pain, depression, anxieties, fear and overwhelming exhaustion. We still run from the ONE THING that can fill us with joy, peace and love. Jesus is calling YOUR name right now. Put down whatever it is that is keeping you from hearing Him. Put down the drugs. Let go of the relationship that is leading you down the wrong road. Let go of whatever it is you are trying to fill the empty void with and focus on Jesus.

He is standing right behind you asking, “who are you looking for?” He is calling you by name and He loves YOU. Fill that emptiness with the one who loves you. His name is Jesus.

 

 

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Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Exodus 4:10-13

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind?Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” 13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

There is such a contrast between the responses of Isaiah and Moses to God’s call on their lives. Isaiah was eager to be used by God. He enthusiastically answered YES! when God called for mission volunteers. I can picture Isaiah jumping up and down, waving his hand yelling, “me, God, me! Pick me! I want to go!” On the other hand, Moses was a bit reluctant when God spoke to him from a burning bush. He gave God excuses as to why he couldn’t answer the call God had on his life. Moses even went so far as to tell God to send someone else. If hiding from God was an option, I’m sure Moses would have done it.

I have had to ask myself how I will answer when God calls on me to a Godly mission. Unfortunately, I have been more like Moses than Isaiah. Yep, I completely understand Moses and have repeated his excuse verbatim when called on by God. Being an enthusiastic volunteer is not me and if I do say yes it is in a quivering voice, shaking in my shoes. How I wish I could be more like Isaiah, ready to answer God’s call with a willing YES! instead of with excuse after excuse as to why God should choose someone else. Something I am working on for sure.

What about you? When God calls you to answer His call, do you answer eagerly, like Isaiah, or do you make excuses, like Moses? If you answer like Moses, why? What makes you a reluctant servant? Is it fear? Is it something else? Whatever it is, turn it over to God and ask the Holy Spirit to help you become an enthusiastic servant.

The most important thing to remember is that even though Moses made excuses, he still obeyed God. God may have been frustrated with Moses, but he never gave up on him and He won’t give up on you either. Give your excuses and reluctance over to God and trust Him with the outcome of the mission He calls you on. God will give you the courage, strength and power to do His will. Be willing to move your feet and trust God to guide your footsteps. Being a volunteer on a Godly mission is always an adventure! Be an eager servant and hang on for the ride!

If you need encouragement along the way, let me know and we can pray through it together. I know the awesome power of prayer and am always here to pray for you, whatever the need. Be blessed, my friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard today that a mom is only as happy as her saddest child. As the mom of five, I know how true that statement is. My heart broke when my oldest daughter announced that she was pregnant at 19, and dropped out of her first semester of college. I watched with concern when she jumped into marriage and moved away to live life on a military base and I was waiting to help her pick up the pieces when she returned ten months later with my granddaughter, and pregnant with her second child. Life as a divorced single mom at 23-years-old was not the life I wanted for my daughter. I lived the emotional roller coaster with her for those years of her life. About the same time, her little sister had decided to join the Air Force. She has been in for 3 years now. My heart was overwhelmed with worry this past November when she called and said she was hospitalized for severe anxiety. She was in another country and hurting. I felt helpless as a mom. I was filled with anxiety, as well.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we agonize over our children, instead of trusting God to protect them? If I am only as happy as my saddest child, then I am missing out on God’s blessings for my life. God does not want me to live in constant anxiety about my children’s lives. He wants me to trust Him completely. Worrying about my children does not help them, and it doesn’t help me. I have to trust God to protect and provide for them in all situations. I do not have to look on, feeling helpless. I have to choose to surrender my children to God and know that He loves them even more than I do. When we surrender our children to God, it lifts the huge burden off of our shoulders and places it where it should be. On God. He can handle it. It is such a relief not to have to live with the anxiety of trying to carry the burden alone. Our kids will deal with difficulty. It is a part of life, but God is in it with them. Don’t worry mom, your kids will be okay.

An Ordinary Life

In the wake of the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl, I am reminded of the platform that many athletes and movie stars have to glorify God. The Eagles players and coach have been vocal about giving glory to God for the blessings in their lives. It is easy to use that platform to share your testimony when you have millions of people hanging on your every word, but what if you live an ordinary life? How do you look past the mundane to glorify God in your life? 

I have asked myself that question many times. I have lived my life wishing that I was a famous Christian women’s speaker like Lisa Whelchel or Candace Cameron Bure. I have dreamed of becoming a famous Christian author like Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore. I have written this blog with love and I have patiently waited for it to take off. 5 years later and that has not happened. I have not become the blogger with thousands of followers or the social media success story. I am still the ordinary single mom of 5, working in the food service department of a local convent and living paycheck to paycheck. I live in a lower income neighborhood in a city that Steve Martin once dubbed as, “Nowhere, USA” and a county that not to long ago had the highest poverty rate in Indiana. I live an ordinary life.

So, how do you live to glorify God when you are living an ordinary life?

You:

Pray: You pray for every aspect of your community, from your family to your co-workers, neighbors, strangers who cross your path, and Government/Spiritual leaders. You pray for issues that effect your community from poverty to crime, employment opportunities, homelessness etc. If you pray over every every aspect of your community you will be glorifying God in your every day life.

Love: We are told many times in the Old and New Testaments to love one another. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we find out what love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

We are not only to love our family and friends, we are to love strangers, the homeless, and those who appear unlovable. There are many ways to show love: a smile of encouragement, a kind gesture, an act of compassion, standing for justice where injustice reigns, being a voice for the voiceless, etc. There are many ways to show our love, I challenge you to take a look around and see how you can love someone to Jesus.

Serve: Matthew 20:28 tells us that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He gives us an example of serving as He washes the disciples feet at the last supper. Everything Jesus did was about serving others: healing the sick, teaching the multitudes, bringing the dead back to life, and casting out demons. We can’t forget the greatest act of service that He performed, giving His life, that we may live. Look around you. How can you step out as an example of Jesus to serve those around you?

Living an ordinary life may not give us the platform for sharing the Gospel that the rich and famous have, but that does not excuse us from doing what we are able to live out the example of Jesus in our own lives. I encourage you to look around and see what ways you can glorify God as you live out your ordinary life.

 

Live In The Present

 

Why is it so hard to let go of the past? Why is it so hard to NOT worry about the future? Why can’t I simply enjoy where I am today? At this moment?

This is my life. I have a constant battle going on in my head. I agonize over past confrontations and mistakes. I worry about whether I am doing a good enough job at work and in general. I worry that I am not perfect enough. I worry that I will be homeless. I worry about tomorrow. I am so caught up in agonizing over the past and worrying about the future that I rarely allow myself to enjoy the present. I never allow myself to just BE in the NOW. On my days off, I worry about work. It is a constant struggle to keep my mind focused on enjoying the peace and presence of God. That is the struggle of someone dealing with an anxiety disorder and that is my struggle. I worry about EVERYTHING and there are times when I don’t know how to stop the craziness in my mind.

But today, I focused on today. I enjoyed time with two of my kids, my future son-in-law, and the four grand kids. We went to a beautiful park, enjoyed a picnic lunch and enjoyed our time together playing and laughing. In this moment, I am not focused on the past or the future. In this moment, I am focused on the now. I feel the peace of God in this moment and I don’t want to lose that feeling.

Each moment is an opportunity for me to find the peace of God. It is there. The peace is always there, as God is always there. I just have to quiet the crazy in my head and allow myself to find it. Today, I found that peace.

 

Seasons change. Kids grow up. Hair goes gray. People leave the things they knew. I am facing a change of seasons. My kids are growing up. My daughters are now in their young 20’s and are building families and lives of their own. My sons are 18 and 16. They are growing into young men that are testing their independence and boundaries. I will be 48 in three months and as I look in the mirror, I see more strands of gray everyday. I realize with some sadness and with some excitement that 50 is right around the corner and my life has just opened up.

I’m tired of struggling as a single mom living in poverty. I’m tired of fighting to keep cars running and having to beg for rides to work and the store for a year at a time because I couldn’t afford any car at all. I’m tired of working a dead-end job that doesn’t even pay enough for me to rent a small apartment at market value. I am tired of money being the reason I stay in that job instead of taking a chance and doing what I really want to do. I am tired of living a mediocre life. Please, don’t think I am saying that raising my kids was something I hated or that I was dissatisfied in that role. I love my kids more than I could ever express, but I will not hide that those were hard years and sacrifices were made in order for me to be the mom I needed to be for my kids. They have always been my first priority.

I currently live with my daughter, Cherokee, her fiance, Chris and four kids combined. The house is perfect for them, but it is tight with me in the mix. My time here is coming to an end and even with working 32 to 40 hours a week, I can’t afford a place on my own, so where does that leave me? It leaves me with some uncertainty about the future, but I feel an excitement about the possibilities. The sky is the limit. My past does NOT define me. My age will NOT limit me. My lack of money will NOT stop me. I have a three step process that I will use as I go into this next season of my life. I call them the three P’s:

Pray: Before I take a step forward, I need to pray for God’s guidance. I need to make sure that I am heading down the path that God has marked out for me. I have to depend wholly and completely on God. I don’t have a significant other that I can enter this next season with. I am alone to face the future. I will be praying for answers to these questions: where will I go? How will I make a living? Where will I live? God knows the answers, I just need to be patient in the process.

Plan: Any type of change takes some amount of planning. Deciding if God wants me to move to another city or stay where I am. If I decide to move, I will need to find a job or source of income, a place to live and health care since I am a diabetic. Is the area close enough to make some research trips to get to know the community and available resources? I will need to list my needs and find the resources to meet those needs before I proceed with any action. I will need to make a list of possible obstacles and solutions. If I stay, I still need a place to live that I can afford, without going on housing. I will need to find a source of income that doesn’t drain me of energy and passion for life.

Proceed: After I have planned out my course of action, then I can proceed with my plan. If I have planned well enough, hopefully everything will go according to that plan, but life is unpredictable and ultimately God is in control. If I have prayed and have planned according to God’s will, then I know that I can trust God with the outcome.

If you are facing a new season in your life, you are not alone. Life is all about change. Change can be good. Change can keep us from becoming stagnant. Change can keep us from living a mediocre life. Embrace the change. Embrace this new season in your life as I am embracing the new season in my life. If you pray and plan before you proceed, then you can be certain of success. You may face some bumps in the road, but God is in this with you.

I will keep you updated on my decisions as I embrace this new season and as I embrace the gray.

 

 

 

 

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

I heard an online sermon that caused me to ask myself the question: Am I Peter or the disciples? Unfortunately, my answer is that I have been much more like the disciples than Peter. I have been more likely to find myself staying in the boat. As I realize this about myself, it saddens me to know that there have been times when I should have trusted Jesus, as Peter did, but chose to act more like the disciples.

When we read this story, we tend to focus on the fact that Peter gave in to his fear and started to sink. The normal reaction to that is, “I don’t want to be like Peter and give in to my fear.” For this blog post, I want to focus on the three things that Peter did right.

  1. Got out of the boat– Peter was the only one to get out of the boat. He was the only one who trusted Jesus enough to even attempt to walk on the water. Peter trusted Jesus! We will never know what we can do if we don’t get out of the boat. In the real world, the boat is our comfort zones. If we never trust Jesus enough to venture out of our comfort zones, we will never know what we can accomplish. We will never know how God can use us. Is Jesus telling you to “come”? What is He asking you to do? Is He asking you to get out of the boat? Is He asking you to move out of your comfort zone? Will you trust Jesus enough to obey the command?
  2. Focused on Jesus- The passage says that Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus. PETER WALKED ON WATER!!! How did Peter walk on water? Peter focused on Jesus! He looked ahead to where Jesus was. In order to do the impossible he had to keep his eyes on Jesus. As soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus, he started to sink. He turned his focus to his fear and the storm and he started to sink. We can accomplish the impossible if we focus on Jesus. We can accomplish the impossible if we look ahead toward Jesus and not focus on our circumstances. What is that “impossible” thing that you are wanting to accomplish?  Are you focusing on Jesus? Or are you focusing on your circumstances? what three things can you do that would help you focus on Jesus more?
  3. Cried out for help– Even when his fear got the best of him, Peter still trusted Jesus to save him. Peter still trusted Jesus! Getting out of the boat takes courage. Stepping out of your comfort zone takes courage. Courage is a feeling that comes and goes. Peter denied Jesus three times later on. David ran in fear from King Saul. Do you think Moses was afraid as he faced God speaking to him from a burning bush? Do you think he faced the call on his life with enthusiasm and a willing heart? Moses was afraid. That’s why he came up with excuses not to do God’s will. We ALL feel fear at one time or another. The important thing is to refocus and cry out to the ONE who can save us: JESUS. Have you allowed your focus to slip from Jesus to your circumstances? Have you cried out to Jesus to help you? If not, why? In what three ways can you refocus on Jesus?

The main point here is not to let the storms of life keep you in the boat. Don’t let your circumstances keep you locked up in your comfort zone forever. Don’t be like the other disciples who sat in the boat while Peter had this thrilling adventure in faith. He had this AWESOME moment with Jesus that the other disciples missed. Don’t miss that moment because you are afraid or you think that your situation is hopeless. Focus on Jesus. Get out of the boat and see what amazing adventure in faith is waiting for you. Don’t worry if you start to sink. Cry out for help and refocus on Jesus. Trusting Jesus can lead to a wild ride full of impossible things becoming possible. Don’t allow yourself to miss out. Trust Jesus!