Monday, September 24, 2018

Come to Me.


“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ 

I love this verse, but so often find that I don’t necessarily follow it. I mean it sounds amazing. Jesus will give me rest!! But when does He give me rest? When I come to Him! Unfortunately, I have found that it’s not just me who neglects this incredible offer. 

Many times I pray with women who are so heavy laden, are carrying so much, and are beyond exhausted. And they readily admit, like me, that they aren’t running to Jesus with all of their baggage. 

I pulled my Jeep onstage Tuesday at Glow as an illustration of God’s Presence. That beautiful Jeep was a Christmas gift from my husband three years ago. I love it! It’s the best! It was given to me to get to the places I need and want to go. It was given to get me there safely and comfortably. 

I see God’s gift of His Presence in that same way. His Presence is meant to get us through this life. It’s a gift that promises refreshment and rest. Less load and more lightness. He has given us this precious promise of His presence—Jesus made the way already. Already been bought. Already been handed over to you. And the invitation is given not only here! Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (It’s like He knew we would need to be reminded more than once, right?! I’m so glad He understands us like that.)
‭‭
I know I need it most when I am feeling the heaviness of life. When I am weary. And somehow that seems to be the very time I neglect the gift the most, doubling down on trying to fix my own self. Anyone else feeling me?

Fortunately, there’s a fix for that. He made it plain and He made it available and He made it a free gift. He made it so you could receive the gift anytime, anywhere. In all seasons, in all circumstances. 

What if I let that Jeep just sit in my driveway and walked everywhere instead? Walked to the library, lugging home library books. Walked to the grocery store, stumbling and drooping and sweating under the heavy weight of Publix bags. Walking along the highway pulling my heavy suitcase to Gainesville to go and see my grandson. You would pull up alongside me, say “Hey!! You have a Jeep in your driveway! You have the keys! This is what it’s for! You can unload all those heavy things in the back and get where you need to go!”

And you would be right. 

You would say—“you’re not doing it right!!”

If we are weary and heavy laden and not getting rest, we’re not doing it right. We will get heavy. We will carry heavy things. There is no shame or embarrassment there. This is life, and we all know life gets heavy. But there is a place to unload those. There is a place to catch our breath. There is a place to get rest. It’s His Presence. 

Don’t let it sit in your driveway. Don’t let it gather cobwebs from no use. Don’t take on more and more and more and more and never use the gift He has so graciously given to you, to me. 

Get in that vehicle of His Presence today. Just take a deep breath. Say thank you that I have this special place to come where it’s just me and You, Jesus. Here’s my heaviness. Here’s the burdens I’ve been carrying. I receive the rest that You promised me. 

Ahhhhh there it is. Don’t believe me? Just get in and see for yourself. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Glow


You guys!!! Glow starts tomorrow!! Glow is a group at Coastline for ladies in all ages and stages of life, a place to explore God’s Word and hopefully get some tools for our toolbox of life. I am so incredibly excited to “glow” in this way. This is where God has placed me and this is one way I glow. 

Many people ask me what Glow stands for. What’s the acronym? I. Hate. Acronyms. Don’t like them. Say what you mean, mean what you say. The only time I use one is to remember a grocery list I have in my head. B. A. N. A. N. A. S. Bread and nuts and..you get the idea. (Also, I totally know that you read that in Gwen Stefani’s voice.)

So no. No acronyms here. 

Glow means just that...glow. It came from a time where I really needed to name the growing group of women who were meeting every Tuesday, for announcements and calendar and staff’s sake. I really truly want to call it “sparkles and glitter forever”. RIGHT?! I just couldn’t land on anything. My husband had recently done a series of messages called Glow, all about being a city on a hill, a welcoming glow to weary travelers. Not a spotlight blinding people so they couldn’t see, but a light that led them to safety, to love, to home. A friend suggested that would be the perfect name for our group, and now you know the rest of the story. 

I don’t know what you may be starting / ending /continuing in the messy middle of this week. Maybe you’re in the awesome or hard or meh part of your life or marriage or ministry or parenting. But wherever any of us are, we are called to glow. Be that steady light in the darkness. 

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” Matthew 5:14. How beautiful is that?! Jesus says you bring out different shades of God here. You bring light. 

Different versions start the verse off with “You are...”. In a world that so often tells us what we are not, it is very comforting to hear Jesus say what we are. We are light. You are light. Be you this week. I’m gonna be over here lighting up what I can, but there are shadows and corners of darkness I need your light to shine on so that I can see God better. 

This is not hard or extra work or a mountain too tall to climb, as we (I!) so often view it. Its not working yourself up to something. It’s really just a willingness to walk closely with God, letting Him shine through you as you live and work and be a wife and mom and friend and neighbor. It’s your little kingdom on this earth being brighter because you are there and alive and shining. 

Lecrae has such a great lyric in a song called “preach”. Sums it all up, really. 
“I got that light. 
I got that glow. 
Look at me shine. 
That’s how you know.”

Yes. That’s how you know. Look at you shine. The darkness can feel so tangible at times, but look—there you are shining. Glowing. Must be God in you. So thanks for that. My world just got a little brighter because of you. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dog Paddling.


On our recent vacation, we spent a lot of time on the water. Surfing behind the boat, cruising the lake, generally having a beyond relaxing time. Our dog went out in the boat with us every day—he is very much a water dog. This one particular day something different happened. There we were, same as every day before—chilling, enjoying the scenery, Goose is riding with the wind through his hair. He never jumps out. Never causes a ruckus. Just rides the waves of his good doggie life (see what I did there?) 

I look to talk to that little surfer dog and...wait. Where is he?  “Where’s Goose?!”  I look back farther in the lake--there he is. Just dog paddling--literally (haha)--behind the boat. Trying to catch up. 

I don’t know what happened. Maybe he got hot. Maybe he got confused. Maybe he had too much vacation brain and thought he could take this lake on his own. No need for boats. No need for “parents”. 

Poor goose. We know what he may not. He can’t paddle forever. He can’t navigate this tricky body of water on his own. Eventually, his little legs will get worn out from all those swims. 

So we stopped the boat. Backed up. Waited for him. Kept our eyes on him. Made sure he was okay. Reached out to help him. Reached out to save him. 

Have you ever jumped out of God’s proverbial boat? 

I don’t know what’s happened in your life. Maybe you got too something. Maybe you got confused. Maybe you got something or the other brained. Maybe you felt you could take this life on your own. No need for help. 

Happens to all of us. Happens to all of us more than we’d like to admit. 

I, for one, am glad to know God knows full well that I am not equipped to handle this life on my own. He knows I can’t navigate it myself and I’ll just wear plain out trying. 

So He waits on me. He stops the boat, stops everything, it seems, for me. Keeps His eyes right on me. Says things like, “It’s okay! You got this! I’m right here! I’m here to rescue you! I’m here to save you!”

Relief. 

Maybe you, like me, have jumped out of the boat sometimes. Let Him lift you back in. Let Him stop the whole world and come and get you. He never leaves you. So don’t get caught up in thinking that you have to somehow catch up to the boat now. Catch up to the Father. No. That’s not how He does things. Not convinced? See: The Prodigal in Luke 15:11-32. The Father is always seeking, searching, looking to rescue. 

Give those arms and legs and mind and heart a rest. Climb back in His lap and enjoy His rest. 

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Have a great, restful week!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy September!


Happy September everyone!! I don’t know where life finds you in this new month, but let me encourage you with a verse that encouraged me today:

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” -Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ 

When you hope in Christ, you CAN hope without wavering because He is the one person in your life Who will keep His Word. You never have to worry if He will. You never have to wonder if His promises will come to pass. Faithfulness is a characteristic of God. He will always and forever be faithful. 

So hold tightly to that today. It’s a real hope. He’s a real God. His promises are the real deal. This is not a hope that will slip through your fingers and disappear. It’s as real as it gets. 

Just like you didn’t worry whether the sun was going to rise this morning, you don’t have to worry whether God will keep His promises. The sun comes up cause He’s faithful. He keeps His Word cause He’s faithful. Worrying can drain energy that could be better spent praising Him for His faithful love for us, better spent thinking on His promises, better spent believing He is totally going to come through. 

Get your hands around some promises of God today and don’t let go!! Hold on to the One who is holding on to you! Spoiler: He is never going to let you go!!