Rejection

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

J.K. Rowling recently posted online  rejection letters she received early on in her career as an aspiring author. Yes, J.K Rowling. And yes she posted letters, not just one letter. She is one of the most famous authors in the universe, and even she was rejected more than once.

I hate rejection. It feels like a very real sting. Like you can feel your heart (and your pride) being wounded simultaneously.  We have all felt it in someway or another and, yes,  it stinks.

The sting (or stink) of rejection is a reminder to us that we are all still a very real part of this world. We place our hopes and our dreams and our feelings into the hands of others. We give them the power to tell us no and the power to hurt us.

It’s hard to see God’s plan when you are still feeling the burn of being rejected. When it’s clouding your vision and causing you to think only about your feelings and your situation in that very moment.

That’s why time alone with our Father is so crucial. We need to take those specific moments and start to listen to Him.  To just take a deep breath and be still. When we start having conversations with Him and start really looking to His Word for guidance, we will slowly begin to realize that His plans are always the best plans.

We might not ever know why certain things happen to us.  But we can have faith that He’s got this.

He’s working on  far greater things than we could ever comprehend.

 

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My Team

It’s college basketball playoff season and I am loving every second of it. I was never a sporty kind of girl until I had two basketball playing fanatic sons and was forced to get on board the basketball train.  The writer in me loves the dramatic plays that happen in every game.  The bounce passes and the steals and the buzzer beaters get me yelling and jumping almost as loudly as my boys.  Yet, that’s not all that I love. It’s more than just that. It’s the teamwork that goes into playing a game, the camaraderie, the digging in to get it done and the perseverance. It’s all such a metaphor for life.

I don’t play basketball very well. My sons won’t even let me  play with them most of the time. Mommy gets to sit on the sidelines and watch from her seat in the driveway and I’m OK with that. I will never be part of a basketball team. I will probably never be part of any sports team.

There is, however, another team I  belong to.

Things changed in my life almost exactly a year ago. I finally decided to stop doing things my own way and to start listening to God.   I decided,as my favorite bible verse says “To be still,” and began following God instead of running from Him.

But God knew I couldn’t do it alone.

Nobody can do it alone. God created us to have fellowship with each other and to encourage each other daily. He created us to break bread together and to study the word.

Together.

My teammates are a fellowship of believers God has placed in my life to help me along this crazy path of life.  They throw me my bounce passes and help get me to the bucket. They support me at the free throw line and cheer me along from the sidelines.

My teammates are my church family.

And this team is phenomenal.

I didn’t understand it until I was a part of one, but now I get it. I understand what God meant when he spoke about a Fellowship of Believers. We were created to be together. We were created to encourage each other and to worship Him together. To get each other’s rebounds and to pick each other up off of the floor.

Thank you Jesus for my team. Thank you for this wonderful body of believers. We might not win every game but that’s OK, we have already won the biggest battle.

We are already champions in your eyes.

Acts 2:42-47 The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

 

Cracked Eggs

Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus prayed in the garden tonight.

How scared He must have been as He prayed to God.  He cried. He yelled. He asked for the cup to be removed. I can’t imagine the terror He had in His human heart in that moment. My own heart aches for Him now just thinking about it.

He paid it all for us,  a world of lowly sinners who don’t deserve any of it.

We continue to sin in this world.  We continue to be greedy. We continue to covet.

We continue to put ourselves first before Him at all times.

When do we stop and ask ourselves, “Do I know what He did for me?”

“Do I know what He did for all of us?”

I heard on the radio this morning that the Easter egg actually represents Christ. The egg itself is life and when cracked, it represents the opening of the tomb and the resurrection of Christ.

I’d like to think we are all cracked eggs. Cracked eggs who got to have a second chance because Jesus followed through on His final act of obedience. Cracked eggs who can be forgiven because He got up, walked out of that garden and died on the cross for our sins.

Cracked eggs who will never be as perfect as He was, but with the promise that we can be whole again once more.

Thank you Jesus for getting up. Thank you for walking out of that garden.Thank you for paying it all for us.

We don’t deserve any of it. We can only try and live as you asked us to.

A bunch of cracked eggs, living only for You.

Appreciating what you did for us, every single second of every single day.

 

What I Want My Sons to Know

What I want my sons to know…

Be kind always. Even when you have to bite your tongue. Even when your first thought is far from a Godly one.  Even when you would love to just get that last word in to prove someone wrong. Be kind. A Christian never made a friend by getting the last word.

You are not the center of the universe. No Sir. Not even close. You are very close to your mother’s center, but you are not THE center. Follow the rules. There are no free passes. Don’t make excuses. You are not entitled to anything extra in this life. Work hard. Then work harder.

Smile often. It makes you feel better. It makes others feel better too.

Say please and thank you, compliment others, and  hold the door for people. You never know how your kind gestures might brighten someone else’s entire day.

Be mindful of God’s plan for your life. When things don’t go your way, remember- He is positioning you for far greater things. Get excited about that.

Go to the Word first when you have a problem.  Not to me. Not to your father. Not to your friends.  Seek God’s guidance always.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Jesus loves you and that’s all that really matters. Keep this in mind when you are fighting for a friend’s attention or for the affections of a girl. You don’t have to earn anyone else’s love. His is enough.

Mom and Dad will mess up on all of the above. We will fail. We will screw it up. We are not perfect. But we will also persevere and seek God’s forgiveness when we do mess it up.

And finally, start a spark and make it brighter. Remember you are the light in this dark, dark world.

Don’t ever lose your shine.

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Polka Dot Vest

2 Corinthians 5:20  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

I have this vest. It has blue and white  polka dots on it and, apparently, I wear it a lot.  I wear it so much, in fact, that on two separate occasions, in two different grocery stores, I have run into the same woman  while sporting the vest. And on those same two times, I have spoken to the woman completely out of the blue about something and then we have talked about my vest. In fact, I saw the woman a third time a few weeks ago (in the grocery store) and she was sporting the same vest in a different color.

She really liked my vest too.

I didn’t speak to her the third time though. I was in a hurry, rushing and worrying about something not really all that important and I turned the other way when I saw her.

I regretted it almost instantly.

I regretted it because I feel as if there is some reason God keeps putting this woman in my path.

It can’t just be the polka dot vests.

In Sunday School this morning, my husband spoke about how many Christians have trouble wearing our faith out in the open. We have a a hard time wearing our Christianity on our sleeves. We don’t mind wearing other things that showcase our favorite sports teams or our favorite colleges or even where we might be employed, but wearing our Christianity out in the open, in front of non-believers and those who might judge, well that’s a different story.

We don’t want people to look at us differently. We don’t want people to judge us before they know us. We don’t want people to think we are being too “preachy.” We avoid saying things about Jesus in front of these types of people too. We don’t want them to think they have to act differently around us. So for many of us (me included) keep our mouths closed and our sleeves covered up.

Take my polka dot vest lady, for instance. I know the Holy Spirit is telling me to share my love of Christ with her. To maybe invite her to church or to pray with her about something. And what did I do when I had the chance to do that? I turned the other way. I kept on walking, telling myself I didn’t have time at that moment because I was too concerned with something that was really not important at all.

2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us to be ambassadors for Christ. God uses us as vessels to make his appeal. We are called to wear our Christianity on our sleeves and to be the light in this very dark world.

I know I will see my polka dot vest lady again. It’s bound to happen. God has put her in my path for a reason.

And when I do see her, I will be ready.

Sleeves showing and all.

Disappointment

Psalms 42:11 – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

I have trouble spelling the word disappointment..is it one s? one p? two s’s? two p’s? I can’t ever get it right. Spelling has never been my strongest feature. Yet, while I might have trouble spelling the word disappointment, I certainly don’t have trouble feeling it. I can become disappointed in a heartbeat. Take last night for example.  I came home after a very, very long day (a flat tire an hour from home was involved) and was so looking forward to my favorite dish of baked ziti from our local Italian place. My husband had picked it up for me and my mouth was practically watering when I tore into the container. I couldn’t believe my eyes when all I saw was a bowl of noodles and some tomato sauce.

Disappointment arrived instantly.

Who eats just noodles and plain tomato sauce? Besides a 6 year old?

Oh and not only was I disappointed.. I was mad.

My poor family had to listen to me complain about noodles and sauce for about five minutes until they finally told me to just get over it. Grumbling, I added some cheese from the fridge (still not the same) and moved on.

Eventually.

This past week I have had several conversations with friends and family members who have been disappointed in another person, or in an event, or even a circumstance that is currently happening in their lives. We tend to have such high expectations for people and things and then, when the cheese isn’t on the ziti, we lose it. We want everything to happen just as we imagined them! We want people to behave just as we planned. Isn’t that how it should be?

As I grow stronger  in my walk, I am learning we are always going to be let down by the someones or the somethings of this world. It’s human nature to be disappointed and it’s also human nature to disappoint another person.

We are all sinners living in a sinful world. Disappointment comes with the territory.

There is only one person who we won’t ever be disappointed with.  When we start following Jesus’s path, and stop putting everything we have into other people, or into jobs, or into events out of our control, then we can learn to handle our disappointment in more appropriate (non-temper tantrum throwing) ways.

We can give it all to God and move forward. No bitterness. No disappointment. Clean hearts all of the way.

I can even try and forget about my baked ziti without the cheese.

 

 

Blessings 

 Proverbs 31:28  “Her children arise and call her blessed.”

 I read this verse this morning and giggled because, lately, my children have been calling me a number of things and the word “blessed” has not been among them.  I am the mother of two very headstrong boys and boy, do they let me know when they are not happy with me.  Her children arise and call her “mean.” might be the more accurate saying right now in my life. 

They don’t want to do homework right after school. They don’t want to read.  They don’t want to put away their clothes. They want to have junk food instead of healthy food. They want to play electronics at all hours of the day.  These are the daily battles of our lives with our kids.  It’s like they wake up everyday thinking maybe, just this once, the rules won’t apply. They really are going to test us every single day.  

It’s ok though. While they may not like me in every moment of the day, I am confident I am laying down a strong foundation for my two stubborn boys. They will remember why I said no to certain things and made them do certain things.  I am confident when they are fathers of their own they will finally say “You know what? My Mom was right.”  

Redemption!

And they do like me in other parts of the day.  They like me when I read  to them. They like me when I sit outside and watch them play basketball (I’m not good enough to play with them.) They like when I tuck them in at night and give kisses and prayers.  When I tell them I’m so thankful God gave them to me. They like when I watch their favorite show with them.  These moments of the day, sprinkled in between my role as their “mean mom” make it all worth it.  

These moments make me realize just how blessed I truly am.