At the end of our pointing fingers…

God Loves You - He even loves them in their mistakes

God Loves You – He even loves them in their mistakes

There is nothing that makes me more brokenhearted than

RELIGIOUS,

JUDGMENTAL,

CHRISTIANS

In fact, I don’t even identify myself as one at times.  As a Christian, that is.

I am a Jesus follower, a fisher of men, a believer, a lover of the lost, a child of the creator and the Great I AM, broken yet healed, was lost yet now I am found……a SINNER yet forgiven.

Quite recently I have given this much thought.  Up until 12 years, 7 months and 5 days ago, I WAS one of those people, those unsatisfied, angry, self-centered people just trying to make it until Friday.  Yelling at the waitresses and customer service representatives because there was pain and despair so deep I lashed out at anyone that I felt didn’t give me the importance I deserved.  One of the 100’s, that we believers, pass each day in our cars on the way to work, on the corner as we run into Starbucks, in the grocery aisles as we hurry to grab dinner, and in the same churches we attend on Sundays.

They are slow to move over from the fast lane because they are in deep thought about their dying parent, they are taking a long time in the grocery check out because they are organizing their coupons to afford the few items on the counter, they are worried about the future after reading the news headlines and confused, they YELL because there is pain in their souls, they go through the week/months/years without HOPE and think that this is all there is, and they sit in the back of the church as to not be seen.

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THEY ARE LOST, WE WERE LOST….

Jesus cares about the person actively in sin right now.  He commands us to care about that person actively in sin right now.

**NEWSFLASH even after you are saved you are actively in sin daily**

Jesus didn’t wait for Matthew or Zacchaeus to repent and put down their tax records and pens, He didn’t wait for the woman to leave the adulterous bedroom and seek Him out or the Roman centurion to beg for forgiveness for the murders he likely committed before He raised his daughter from the grave.  Jesus met His children where they were at, right at that moment.  He accepted them in their unholiness because He knew that by showing them his MERCIFUL (a gift that is NOT deserved) love their heart changed and they saw the unconditional and Godly love for what it is and that they didn’t deserve it but that God was offering it.

WHAT?  You love me where I am at?  Yes, He loves us where we are at.  So maybe we should be loving that drug addict, alcoholic, sexual offender, homeless and “unclean”, gossiping, angry, homosexual, deceitful, lying, smart-mouthed, rude, disrespectful (teenager)….right where they are at and turn that finger into a handshake or a hug.  Create a relationship without thought to what we are getting in return, step outside of our nice comfy, comfort zone and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.  We are just commanded to LOVE….

Episode

BE KNOWN FOR WHAT WE ARE FOR – NOT WHAT WE ARE AGAINST

** To the non Christians passing through – Please consider Jesus on HIM and what He preached, not by how an IMPERFECT believer (myself included) behaved while representing HIM.

Luke 19:1-10 NLT

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man[a] came to seek and save those who are lost.”

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What did you say, God? – pt. 2

The Four Seasons

Four seasons.  We can count on there being four every year without human intervention.  Sometimes Winter is a little longer than we wished and sometimes Summer is hotter than we would like, but we can always count on changing seasons.  The same can be said for our spiritual seasons.  We can be loving life, feel closer than ever to God, be full of abundant joy and then, “WHAMMO”, a snowstorm or a hurricane.  God has another plan for our next step in the adventure.

This was me after moving to Atlanta.  Sure, going to a one income family was going to be tough and homeschooling 2 out of 3 children who declared how much they hated being homeschooled every morning would be difficult and having a spouse who walked out of his home office every couple hours to remind me how “concerned” he was about the kids social life was annoying…. but I was up to the task.  We were starting a unit based curriculum on Ancient History that encompassed History, Literature, Bible, Geography, and the arts. (this is important later…God is so good)

Morning ONE I was met with scowls, groans and smart-aleck comments from both girls.  I wasn’t going to fall victim to this….I saw it for what it was, an attack, as I was bringing Jesus back center and the devil wasn’t going down without a fight.

Yep, that lasted until day 3….after 18 hours of complete and utter disrespect, eye rolls at every turn and no buy-in, I flipped out.  Crying, screaming, hurling accusations….my two girls looked at me and said, “see, told you homeschooling was gonna suck…”.  God what have I done?  You gave me a vision of victory and success and here I am walking through doggie poo….After prayers, phone calls to my sister (who homeschools her children) and other Christian friends who prayed with me, I was back in the game for day FOUR.  Put me in coach!!

Now I am not going to say that it was easy after that day.  I am not going to say that there were no more eye rolls and disrespectful comments.  I am not going to say that I never again yelled and hurled accusations either.  BUT, after that day, hearts began to change.  Mine and the girls.

We began studying Ancient History, both secular and biblical, with a Godly perspective.  We started at creation and went through every empire and major civilization..Babylonian, Egyptian, Indus River Valley, China, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman.  OHHHH!!  I can’t hardly contain it…I didn’t know what I was doing but GOD did!!

We learned about Abram and his travels and how/where that was with Babylonian times, we lined up Joseph with our Egyptian studies and what was happening, Moses, Jonah (Yes, Ninevah is a famous Assyrian city…no wonder he ran!!).  But most importantly, we learned about the beginning of every major religion…I was able to talk to my girls historically and Biblically why these other religions fall short and why the Bible and God’s way is the right way.  They can tell you why, not just “because we believe this way”.  It makes sense to them.

During this time, God led us (a whole ‘nother rabbit hole of God’s intervention) to a home church after much searching and prayer.  The church was going through staffing changes, bringing in a new children’s, worship, and youth pastor when we found them.  The youth pastor was a breath of fresh air to me.  My kids clicked with him immediately and started ASKING to go to youth!  They wouldn’t think of missing now.  God was changing their hearts, they were becoming receptive to his Word.  They were convicted in areas and there was repentance and restoration!  PRAISE THE LORD!!

So everything is perfect, right?  HA!  Having only 11 weeks of school left, we were hit with a severe financial hardship that required me to immediately find a job.  No joke….we were in ridiculous dire straits.  So in a crumpled ball on my bed, after coming to the realization and guilt that I had done this to my family I cried out to God.  Had I truly heard God’s voice that day?  Did God truly say to me, “homeschool your children or it may have ETERNAL consequences”?  Why God?  Why!?!?  When everything was going to great!

Now the kids were crying and hiding in their rooms because they LOVED homeschooling and didn’t want to go back to school.  OHMYGOODNESS!!!  What is happening?!?!  I was crying and moving between guilt, for not working, and anger at my husband for not making enough (I am not sure how much harder he could be working but I was MAD).  Proverbs 31 Wife over here let me tell ya!

So in an unusual ride alone with my sixteen year old, she brought up the whole subject of me going back to work and her eventually going back to school after two weeks of crazy emotional roller coaster rides in our home.  As my eyes began to well up again, my sweet girl put her hand on my hand and said,

“Mom, I was really upset about you having to go back to work and me going back to public school.  Sis and I were in a really bad place in Chicago, Mom.  Really bad, you don’t even know.  I was losing my faith.  I started in Chicago witnessing to people.  But after so long of not going to church and having Christian friends I was acting like them instead of me.  Mom, you did hear from God, you saved us from that.  We believe in God again, we understand why we believe and Mom, God told me when I prayed last night that it is time for me to get back into the field.  I need to go back and witness to people in school and I am ready again.”

Thank you so much God for being by my side.  Thank you God for using my little grown up girl to witness to me and give me a word that encouraged my faith and reaffirmed that I do hear from you and you do have our best interest at heart.  Seasons change and I want to be right in the season you need me in.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

A Time for Everything

3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

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Be careful little eyes…..

Guard Your Heart

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What did you say, God? – pt. 1

Have you ever had season changes with God in 5x’s fast forward?  You know when you are trying to fast forward the DVR and you skip over all 10 advertisements before you can even make sense of what is happening?  It is like whiplash…I am speaking from experience as I reflect on the last 18 months of our family’s life.

We moved to Chicago after 4 years in Colorado.  Colorado was wonderful for our family.  We had a church family, we had wonderful friends (life-longers) and we were on fire for God!  When my husband had an opportunity to take a position in Chicago with his company we believed God was moving us to Chicago to do His work and were so excited to be moving.  I admit I wasn’t happy about the weather situation but my life is not my own!

We lived in Chicago for almost 4 years to the day.  As is normal with any new “home” we began to learn the area, search for a home church and got to know our neighbors.  God is so perfect in His love for us, he blessed us with a hungry Christian family that became a part of our family.  They lived a door down and I can truly say they are our brother and sister.  But, as with all things that are not watered regularly, we began to wilt and lose our leaves.  We could not find a home church, we did not have regular worship as a community and our children who had visions of missionary work and ministry callings just 3 years earlier were becoming more and more like the “world”.  I had totally missed it!  It sneaks into your life like a thief in the night…..literally.  Our family had moved everything but our toes out of God’s Kingdom and into the world.

One day on my way to work, I heard that voice that I had heard so often before, call out to me.  I had not heard it clearly for years but I recognized it immediately.  “Christina, I love you….do you love me?”  I immediately responded and had a moment in my car, crying out to God, crying and snotting so much I had to pull over or risk an accident.  He spoke to me in an instant about my children, and gave me a vision of the fork in the road and what would come to pass depending on my/our choice at this venture.  I chose Him.  I prayed, and began to talk to my love about what God had told me and what we were to do.  We were to leave Chicago.  If we didn’t it could have ETERNAL consequences.

Now if you have a spouse, you know that me coming home and saying, “We are leaving Chicago and you need to find a new job to do so.  Oh, and I am going to quit my job and home school all three children” over dinner did not go over so well with my spouse or my children who now had severe scales on their eyes.  Mine had just fallen off on certain areas of my pupils 6 hours earlier so I was a little nervous myself.  Especially since we hadn’t heard from God in years and I am saying “because God told me so”.  WHAT?!??!

Our house became insane immediately.  Teenagers were crying and yelling about how I was “ruining” their lives, and this was a daily occurrence for the next 6 months.  The love of my life was asking me, “are you sure you heard from God, because He didn’t tell me anything and I am good here.”

When you hear from God, and I was hungry again now that I had after “400” years of silence, nothing was going to stop me come HELL or HIGHWATER!  And let me tell you, when you take on the devil, as I have many times over in my life, it is not pretty.  The people you love the MOST on this earth are used against you.  But I stood my ground and we are now in Atlanta.  It hasn’t been easy but I have HOPE in my God, that He has a plan for ME.  A plan that He initiated before, and as, I was growing in my momma’s heart and womb. #Godisonmyside #obeyingGod

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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Paralyzed by my obedience…..

Have you ever been told something was going to happen and then it just never came to pass? Well as far as you were concerned, anyway. This is what the last 12 years has been for me. Twelve years ago, I was transformed, changed in an instant by a touch from God.

Yea, I said it…God touched me. He touched me and changed me from the foul mouthed, dirty joke telling, occasional drug user, women’s power, angry, self-centered, lost, unsatisfied, bleh, bleh, bleh creation that I was in ONE INSTANT. Thirty seconds to be exact but it was the most wonderful thirty seconds of my life. But that is not why I am paralyzed by obedience.

I am paralyzed because I want so bad to be obedient that I don’t want to move out in faith as it may be the wrong “obedient” step….CRAZY! I am disobedient by my own dog gone obedience. Ok, you can stop shaking your head…some of you know what I am talking about or you will at some point.

Someone who is becoming an important person in my life just talked to me (and about 50 other women) on Monday night about Hope….Hope is what moves us forward into FAITH, it is the precursor to Faith.. Duhhhh….maybe some of you ladies got that years ago….I am in the boom boom class sometimes when it comes to getting the easy stuff.

Lucky for us, there was at least one very important woman in the Bible that didn’t get the whole obedience thing initially which gives me HOPE! Sarah is known as a woman of obedience, even to a fault, she obeyed Abram even though they received promises from God that their descendents would be as many as the stars when they lied to Pharaoh to save their skins. But thank you GOD, that you make a way for us to come back into relationship with you after we fail. God offered Sarah an opportunity to have HOPE again which enabled her to take a step in faith and believe the promise that was given to Abram and herself. Our faith moves God. He wants us to be in relationship with Him.

So here is where I get out of the boat, step out of the tent, pick up my mat and walk. That same wise, woman told me, “Christina, don’t wait for a platform, get out there and take the first step in faith.” That is what I am doing. I am seeking God, and being obedient in faith by beginning this blog. I may never have even 5 followers (LOL) but I have a lot to say, God has blessed me so many times and is so evident in my crazy, lunatic, spastic, unworthy life that maybe by my testimonies, and words spoken in that soft, sweet voice to me I may reach even one woman (or man :D) for God’s Kingdom…..that makes it all worth it.

As for me and my keyboard….I will serve the Lord.

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