Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Times up

As we all know, this past weekend we celebrated our Mom’s. I was in North Georgia for my daughter’s soccer tournament when I received a text from a friend in Oklahoma. She sent me a picture of our son, Cruz, at the courthouse on the day we adopted him. As I opened the picture, a flood of emotions poured out. It was emotional because this little guy experienced more trauma in his first 5 years of life than most people ever will. It was emotional because he has come so far. It was emotional because he has so far to go. 

Parenting is hard. Adoption is hard. Raising a broken little person is hard. You feel for him but you also get frustrated with him. 

 At our last parent-teacher conference, I sat across his teacher and heard the question, “How long have you had him?”
“Three years.”
“Well, that’s enough time then.”
“For what?”
“You know… to know what is right and wrong. To know what is acceptable behavior or not.”

My heart broke. Not just because she said it but because I also believed it. I can get so frustrated with Him because ‘he should get it by now.” But He’s not something to get but a person to love. Time is irrelevant when it comes to healing. Time is irrelevant when it comes to love. Time is irrelevant when it comes to God. How many times have we said, prayed, and even yelled at God, “You have had enough time, God. Enough time to fix my marriage. Enough time to make things happen in my job. Enough time to heal my broken heart.  Here is what I have learned, God’s greatest desire is not just to fix what’s going on around us, but teach us how to fix our eyes on the One who lives in us, Jesus.

Jesus taught this same lesson to Peter when he walked on water.

“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save, me Lord.” He shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, ‘You of little faith.’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me.’ When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. The then the disciples worshipped him. ‘You really are the Son of God.’” Matthew 14:29-34

Peter was walking on water when his eyes were on Jesus, but the moment he took his eyes off Jesus onto the struggles, wind, fear, waves, etc. around him, he began to sink. Can you relate? The moment I take my eyes of Jesus and focus on the wind and waves around me, I begin to sink-sink into self-doubt, self-pity, and self-loathing. Oh but I love when Peter cries out to Jesus, Jesus doesn’t stop the wind until after they get in the boat. Its not our circumstances he wants to change but our focus. He didn’t stop the storm… He saved him in the middle of it!

“…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Cruz’s race is not finished. Mine is not finished. Yours is not finished. Its time to fix our eyes on the Jesus who lives in us instead of what storm maybe going on around us. ITS TIME TO GET THINGS FIXED!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Being content? Never heard of it...

A monk was passing through the capital city of the famous king. While he was walking, he noticed a single currency coin on the road. He picked it up. He was satisfied with his simple living and he had no use of that coin. So, he planned to donate it to the one who is in need of it. He strolled around the streets throughout the day but didn’t find anyone such. Finally, he reached the rest area and spent a night there. Next morning, he wakes up in the morning for his daily activities and sees that a king is going for his invasion of another state with his war ready army. When the king saw the monk standing, he ordered his army to be stopped. He came to the monk and said, “Oh Great Monk, I am going to war to win another state so that my state can be expanded. So bless me to be victorious”. After thinking, the monk gave the single currency coin to the king! The king was confused and annoyed with this because what use would he have for a single coin while he is already one of the richest kings! He curiously asked him, “what’s the meaning of this one coin?” A Monk explained, “Oh Great King! I found this coin yesterday while strolling around the streets of your capital city. But I had no use of it. So, I had decided that I would donate it to someone needy. I strolled around till the evening in your capital, but found no one. Everyone was living a happy life. It seemed that they were satisfied with what they had. So I found no one to give this coin. But today, the king of this state, still having the desire to gain more and not satisfied with what he already has, I felt you were in need of this coin.”
Who do you relate to the most in this story? The King or the Monk? Without a doubt, I am the King but I so want to be the Monk; content with what I have and content with who I am. There was a poll done and the question was asked, “How much would it take for you to be satisfied?” The overwhelming answer, “Just a little bit more.” We can all find ourselves wanting just a little bit more. We want just a little bit more money. We want a few more wins. We want just a little bit more _____________ and then we will be satisfied. As we all know, this attitude of wanting more leads us to being discontent, unsatisfied, unsettled, and freaking exhausted. So the question is how do we become the monk and the townspeople who were happy and satisfied with what they had? Paul answers that burning question in all of us:
“For I have learned  how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Philippians 4:11-12
(The coaching family version may say something like… “I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is an undefeated season or winless one. One when everyone loves me and the ones when nobody does. The one where we were the underdog and shouldn’t have won but did and the one where we were the favorite and didn’t.”

What is the secret Paul Learned? The very next verse is the most quoted, tattooed, t-shirt wearing verse in all of sports: Ready?

For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phillippians 4:13

Although this verse has been taught to us that through Christ’s strength we can win all games. I would argue that we need more of God’s strength when we don’t. We need God’s strength when we are losing because insecurities can set in and we need God’s strength when we are winning because our pride can come out. Paul knew the secret of having a lot or little; winning or losing; wanting more or being content with what we have is CHRIST and CHRIST alone! Our insecurities and pride come out when our focus is on self. Our satisfaction and contentment come out when our focus is on Jesus. We give all the glory back to God, not because He needs it but because we can’t handle it!

Wherever you and your family are right now, coming off of a tough season or preparing for a hopeful one; know we can always find joy and contentment where we are because of who God is! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Help me in my unbelief

Call me a nerd, but I love Star Wars. Let me clarify, I love the old original stars with Yoda, Princess Leia, Han Solo etc. Will you ever see me in a costume dressed up for Star Wars Convention? No (not that there is anything wrong with that…Any Seinfeld fans out there ha ha). My favorite scenes are the ones that include Yoda. There is one scene where Yoda is trying to get Luke to channel the force and lift out his ship from the swamp. As much as Yoda is encouraging him, he fails. Yoda, 900 year old, little green Yoda finally does it…

Luke: “I don’t believe it”
Yoda: “I know, that’s why you fail.”

Belief, one thing we need in our walk with Jesus and often the one thing we struggle.
The belief that God is good all the time.
The belief that God sees us.
The belief that God is for us.
The belief that even though God can, he won’t.

There was a man in Mark 9:17-29 who suffered from the same unbelief that we can all find ourselves struggling with and his story is going to encourage us today in ours.
“One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk…. Vs 18b So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.
Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
Vs. 21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help, if you can.”
“What do you mean, ‘If I can?’ Jesus asked. Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Vs. 28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”
Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only in prayer.”

Why do we fail when it comes to believing Jesus today?

  1. Past disappointments
Just like this Father, we can look at past disappointments from people that can lead to unbelief in the power of a great God. This father believed Jesus’ followers could help him and they didn’t. This disappointment led to him saying “help, if you can.”  Maybe you have had someone who claimed to be a follower of Jesus wound you deeply. Maybe coaches on the staff, parents in the stands, players in your locker room, or family under your roof have disappointed you when it came to loyalty to you.  We are called to love people and trust God. But a lot of times because we love people,  we expect from people what we should expect from God. People may fail us, but God never will.

  1. We may believe IN God, but we don’t BELIEVE God.
 When Jesus says, “If I can?” Jesus is calling us all out when it comes to believing in him, but not believing Him. Believing He is for us. Believing He sees us. Believing He will never leave us. Believing when all we see is bad, HE is still good.  Oh I love the Father’s reply and I pray we all have this same one, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.”
LORD, HELP ME OVERCOME MY UNBELIEF. The best most real prayer we can pray!

  1. Prayer life
We can learn from the disciples, there are somethings we can only accomplish with prayer….not from working longer hours, better game plan, or trying harder but with prayer and only prayer. I know I have said this before but We cannot treat prayer as our last option, but as our first choice. Believing God consistently comes when we seek him in prayer daily.

It is my prayer for you as coaches wives and women of influence that your faith game goes to the next level because your hope, trust, peace, belief is in Jesus…..not the winning record, not the job but in Christ and Christ alone. Believe Jesus today because He believes in you!

Love you all!! Have a great week😊

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Just ROLE with it

Something you may not know about me is I have loved me some Friends TV show (and still love catching some episodes on Nickelodeon). I could quote Friends lines with the best of them and don’t get me started on the haircuts. I had every Rachel and Monica hairdo in the 90’s. One of my favorite episodes was when Monica and Phoebe want to throw Rachel a surprise birthday party. Although they were supposed to be cohosts, Monica had a little control problem and had already made all the plans. Feeling discouraged that there wasn’t anything she was in charge of, Phoebe was given the role of cups and ice. It wasn’t the role she wanted but it was the role she was given and Wow…she went all out with Cups and Ice.

You can watch the 3 minute clip here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vHOrIUKkhs

We all go through those times when we are not where want to be or in the role we think we should be. Coaches see this every season because every kid wants to be the superstar. Every kid wants their name in lights. Every kid wants the best highlight film. As much as that is frustrating to the coach, if we were to be honest, sometimes we aren’t too thrilled with the role God has given us either. Why do I have to be the one that handles all the kids’ stuff? Why am I the one that has to handle the breakdown of the car? Why am I always alone? Believe me, I get it.
 It may not be the accolades we are wanting, but it’s the affirmation we are needing.

But what about the cups and ice? Both needed but not highly respected, Oh, but with God never overlooked.  God doesn’t look for people who want the roles to build their Kingdom, but those who want roles to build His.

And in walks Nehemiah.
An unsung hero of the Bible who brought honor, humility, and revival back to the nation of God’s people and the city of Jerusalem.

His role? His job?

In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.” Nehemiah 1:11

He was literally in charge of the Kings cup. HE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE CUPS😊 The role of a cup-bearer was to taste wine from the kings cup to insure that he would not be poisoned. Although the world may see a man that holds a cup all day, the king saw someone (a foreigner remind you) that he could trust with his life. God saw a man that took his role as cup holder seriously and came before the Lord humbly, and because of this, gave him a new role.

“They said to me, ‘Things are not going well for those who returned to Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.’ When I [Nehemiah] heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said…. (vs. 10) ‘The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.’”
Nehemiah 2:1 ….”I was serving the King his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the King asked me, “Why are you looking sad….You must be deeply troubled.
Nehemiah shared with the King what happened to his city and with his people.
The King replied, “Well, how can I help you?” vs. 4
“With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ‘If it pleases the King, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city….”

And that is exactly what Nehemiah did! He wrote letters, he lead the people, and went through discouraging times, all leading to the rebuilding of the wall in only 52 days at the governments expense. He wasn’t discouraged by his previous role and wasn’t overwhelmed by his present role because His God, our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  God saw He could trust Nehemiah with the small role so He entrusted him with the big one. The same God that used Nehemiah is the same God who wants to use you and me in the very roles he has given us this day. We have to stop looking to where we want to be or where we think we should be and start honoring God in the role he has us to be….right now!

I don’t know about you, I but am ready to be in charge of some cups and ice….for the Glory of God!!

Would love to know your thoughts!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be Weak...everyone is doing it OR should be

Hello to my sweet Sister Wives!! 

I have missed you, but am so excited to be on your computer screens or phones todayJ You all have been prayed for today as you start school!

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,”(Teacher in Japanese) the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.
He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of the judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”
The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength
We live in a world where perception of perfection is reality. Everyone has the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect life. Social media, blogs, website, family pictures etc., all has created this illusion of perfection therefore any weakness we may have we will hide or kill ourselves trying to make it a strength. We don’t just struggle with the fear of failure, we struggle because we think perfection is our only option.  What the heck are we doing? Jesus himself, the creator, the savior, the God of the universe said,
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul goes on to say…., “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
We serve a God that doesn’t want us to dig down deep and try harder to be perfect, but to say out loud and admit that we are not. Jesus didn’t die on the cross because we were perfect, but because we weren’t.
Here’s just a few of mine:
  1. I am weak at organization. It’s exhausting trying to get my crap together
  2. I am weak at finishing. The amount of books I have started to read and not finished is astonishing.
  3. I am weak at humility. I can both boast in what I can do and tear myself a part for what I can’t…both are pride and sin.
  4. I am weak at time management. I once went to a time management counselor for a year.
  5. I am weak at not letting ministry outside my home affect the ministry inside my home.
Be encouraged today that as you start this new school year off, we are not called to be perfect but to admit that we are not and trust our weaknesses to the one who is!

Love you all!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Failing Forward

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing, Not sure if we can use an electricity properly.”
Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.”
Thomas Edison was just as wise as he was brilliant. And I was always taught “We are smart if we learn from our mistakes, but we are wise if were learn from other peoples mistakes.”

There is a man we can learn from when it comes to making mistakes. Because let’s be clear, it’s not IF we make a mistake, it is WHEN we make a mistake. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples,  was discussing what people were saying regarding who Jesus wasFinally, Jesus  said to them, “But who do You say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living. God.” Matthew 16:15-16

Oh but my favorite part comes next…

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys to Heaven….” Matthew 16:17-18

The moment Peter declared who Jesus was to Him (his savior and Messiah), Jesus in turn declares who Peter was in Christ (a rock, the builder of the church, a world-changer). That same Jesus is saying who you are too! Once we make a personal confession and commitment declaring who Jesus is, that same declaration can be made of you! YOU are a rock. YOU are a builder of the Kingdom. YOU are a world-changer. Don’t forget who You are in Christ. We have to keep reminding ourselves who Jesus is and he in turn will remind you who you are.

But what about when me make mistakes?

When instead of a Rock, you crumble under the pressure of being a tired mom, wife, daughter or friend?
Or you fail at building your family up each day so how can you build the Kingdom?
You fail at changing your clothes some days so whose to say you can change the world?  

If you remember, it wasn’t too long after Peters bold declaration of who Jesus was that The Rock crumbled. Not just crumbled, but crumbled under the pressure of a little girl. He literally couldn’t tell a little girl (and two other people) that Jesus is the Messiah and he was the Rock that would build Jesus’ church. He denied Jesus. He denied His own identity. He failed. He failed. And He failed again.

Did his failures change what Jesus said was his future?
Nope…God used them to shape it.

After the Resurrection, Jesus walked and talked with Peter. I can only imagine the shame, guilt, feelings of failure that Peter felt…wait, I don’t have to imagine them I have felt them, every single one of them after each one of my failures. But during this time, Jesus didn’t condemn Peter for his failures, but reminded him of his future.

Jesus: “Do you love me more than these?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord. You know I love you.”
Jesus: “Then feed my lambs.”

Jesus: “Do you love me?”
Peter: “yes, Lord. You know I love you.”
Jesus: “Then take care of my sheep”

Jesus: “Do you love me?”
Peter: “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.”
Jesus: “Then feed my sheep.”  (John 21:15-17)

Like Edison, we will all fail. But with Jesus we will always fail forward.

Be encouraged today sweet friends!! Love and hugs to you all!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Choose Jesus...He chose you

Happy Day to my peeps, my sisters, and my friends!  I hope you had a great Easter with friends/familyJ
So…there was a curious frog that found himself on gas stove and jumped into a nice pot of water. The water felt warm so he did not try to jump out of the vessel, instead just stayed in it. As the temperature of the water started to rise, the frog managed to adjust its body temperature accordingly. As the water started to reach the boiling point, the frog was no longer able to keep up and manage its body temperature according to the water temperature. The frog tried to jump out of the vessel but with water temperature reaching its boiling point, the frog was not able to bear it and couldn’t make it.
As followers of Christ, this world is not our home. Like this frog, we can find ourselves tempted in so many different ways by the luring, warming, and often times, deceptive paths of this world. Jesus understood this because he lived it and prayed for us to have the strength to overcome it. In Jesus’ last moments before being arrested, he prayed for you and he prayed for me:
“….Now I am coming to you. I told them (disciples) many things while I was with them in the this world, so they would be filled with joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not  belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into this world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” John 17: 13-20 (You can read the whole amazing prayer in John 17)
Can I just say how much I love Jesus? While preparing to die, he is teaching us how to live.
When we seek happiness from the world, we have find ourselves in pot of water on a burning stove. It will last for a while but it will NEVER be good enough. We will constantly try to keep up with the ever-changing culture. Yes, we can adapt but our hearts are slowly dying in the process. This can take the form of compromising our faith out of fear of the world.  Giving into a sinful temptation that may have been knocking at our door. Following the ways of this world instead of setting the example of God’s. The question I have to ask myself and want to ask you as well, how are we choosing culture over Christ? What we watch? Who we are in relationships in? Where we go? What we do?
The enemy is not Culture, but often the culture follows where our enemy is leading….away from Jesus. This enemy Jesus prayed about is real and will come at us two ways: Temptation and Opposition. The bible teaches us how to handle this:
1)      Flee from Temptation
2)      Fight opposition
Unfortunately, we do the complete opposite. We will fight temptation and flee when it comes to opposition. All the frog had to do was jump out when the water started to get warm, but instead fought the temptation until it slowly killed him.                     

Love you all!