“Being Present”

my new mantra is “being present.” ☀️🙏🏼

A little less than a year ago, I became really convicted about my cell phone and social media habits. I would go as far to say that I was somewhat addicted to this rectangular device. I checked it constantly. I rushed to social media every five minutes. I went about 7 months with no social media. It was wonderful. I chose to go back on for ministry purposes but I made strict guidelines for myself such as who I would interact with, what times I would check it, how much time I would spend holding it in my hand, etc.
My latest conviction is checking the phone in general. I have discovered that 90% of the messages I receive do not require an immediate response. Therefore, my phone no longer receives texting notifications. I am not tempted to check it when it lights up. I am not distracted from being totally present wherever I am and with whomever I’m with. My new reality has been truly blessed by God.
I’m no longer a slave to my phone. I am learning that someone else’s emergency is not necessarily my emergency and that life goes on. I have written so much about being intentional- it was time I took it to another level in my own life. My phone alerts me when I receive a call or when certain people contact me, but that’s it. Everything else can wait. It can wait for you, too. Don’t be a slave to this rectangular box. Be present with those you are around in this moment.
I challenge you to consider how much of your time has been or is currently being robbed by a screen and take a few simple steps to experience this life God has given you and the people He has blessed you with.

Encouragement for the Discouraged Mother

My mother knew that in order to raise children who would choose to walk with Christ on a daily basis, she needed more than rules. She needed to be a living example of a woman after God’s heart.
Your children observe your lifestyle.
After all, it is a direct reflection of your heart. A lifestyle is seven days a week- not just the seventh day. Making the choice each day to submit to Christ can be difficult when we are overwhelmed by our circumstances, people (yes, even your lovely children), or anything else we cannot control.
Sometimes I feel like asking, “God are you really listening?” As my heart burns with a desire to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God and to be a solid Christian example for the little ones in my life, it seems insulting to let the thought cross my mind that I might need to jump back into the driver’s seat of my life and let Jesus take a break for a few miles.
           
I was reminded a few weeks ago of John’s doubts while in prison. In Matthew 11:3, John asked if Jesus was really, “The One who is to come?” Note, John had already baptized Jesus even though he felt he was “unworthy to touch His sandals.” John knew who Christ was. He baptized Him in the name of His Father. Lastly, in v. 2, John had heard what Christ was doing while he was sitting in prison.
Jesus never rebuked John for asking questions.
For wondering.
For maybe even fearing a little.
And Jesus will not rebuke us in the moments of life when we just can’t seem to grasp what He is doing and we do not know what we should do either.
           
When my heart is burdened and I can’t seem to release what I know He can hold, instead of bashing myself, I know I should remember how Jesus worked in John’s life. John found himself in prison for preaching the Gospel of Jesus, fulfilling the prophecy that he would be the forerunner of Christ. He did not stay caught up in his doubt-He continued to love like the author of love. He found faith in our awesome God to be all he needed, and he lived a life of devoted ministry to Christ.
“Truly I tell you, among these born of women no one greater than John the Baptist has appeared..” (Matt. 11:11). 
God strengthened John to fulfill his calling in this life and He will strengthen you, too, as you fight the good fight to raise champions for Christ.
           
Your success as a mother is not dependent on your ability to bake the best cookies, to keep a spotless house, or to be liked by your child at all times. Your success as a mother will hinge on a consistent walk with Christ. Following Jesus will not exempt you from parenting woes, discouragement, or children gone wild, but following Him does mean you are equipped with the armor of God and perfect guidance and direction for each day as you raise your mighty warriors of God.
I encourage you to submit yourself to Him and be faithful to make decisions each day that place Christ at the center of your home. The fruit of God-fearing will grow and bloom in the lives of your children as they watch you trust in The Lord with all your heart, leaning not on your own understanding.

Guard Your Plans

Part of my morning routine includes praying over my plans for the day. Lately, I have found myself filling the pages of my planner with snippets from my meeting with God earlier that morning.

A few words. A few minutes of my time. A major impact on my day.

I am reminded what is most important: Serving Him who put me here.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life. It is equally easy to become immersed in things of this world rather than to stay focused on why we’re in the world to begin with. I sometimes find myself signed up for too many things, leading too many groups, or committed to too many personal obligations.

But why?

Because no one else signed up and the schedule was due. Because no one else felt comfortable leading and someone had to take charge. Because I hadn’t seen that friend in a while and felt like I should reconnect.

There is nothing wrong with signing up to serve on a committee, leading an organization, or taking personal time—until it becomes a distraction to our relationship with Christ. These distractions can continue to snowball, pushing God further and further away until we are no longer giving Him our first fruits but the leftovers.

I have chosen to align my heart with Christ, and I seek to honor Him in each block of my time. Therefore, I must be discerning.

In Proverbs 4:23, we are urged to “guard our hearts.” If my heart’s desire is to seek God’s will in my life and respond accordingly, I should begin with daily choices that reflect Him as top priority. When I am overwhelmed or exhausted by the things filling my schedule, I am not preparing myself to be a useful tool in the hands of an awesome God.

Saying yes to serving God means saying no to people, things, or activities that fail to build us up in Him. Where, how, and with whom we spend our time is a direct reflection of the posture of our worship and the state of our hearts.

I have realized that my day is more than lesson planning, meetings, organizing girls’ ministry, or writing. My value is not based on my performance as a teacher, Bible study leader, friend, or daughter.

As you glance over your schedule, introduce your plans to your Savior. Ask God to make it clear to you what is most deserving of your time. Be sure to take notes during your daily one-on-one conference with Him so that you can assess and reflect.

You may not get everything accomplished. That is ok.

You may need to say no to someone. That is ok.

When we get in the habit of prayerful planning, we will begin to notice that our attitude towards day-to-day activities shifts to desire a spirit of submission to the Father. While walking closely with the Prince of Peace, He will remind us of His plan and purpose for our lives.

Christians Against Culture

Christians aren’t better, just forgiven.

Is our goal to change culture, avoid it, or simply live and let live?

Christ-against-culture people see a clear and unreconcilable division between the goals of Christ and the goals of current culture. Jesus’ words and actions picture a new way of life, a way that is at odds with the status quo.

To pray, “Thy Kingdom Come” is a petition of surrender, a letting go of the objectives of this world in favor of the way of God. You can’t look like the world and have a heart sold out for Christ.

We all fall short of what God wants us to do and to be. The forgiveness of Jesus Christ is radical, wide reaching, and life changing.

Jesus came preaching a gospel that set people free from cultural norms and for new life. The question before us is: Will we follow where Jesus Christ leads? Chances are, you won’t look like everyone else. You might even offend someone.

Jesus’ words speak directly to us. We are now the ones who carry the responsibility of living a life reflective of the gospel and sharing the gospel faithfully.

Just as Jesus challenged His first disciples to believe in Him and follow, so He challenges us today through His word.

God, is that you?

I so enjoy seeing God’s fingerprints across my calling to ministry to work with young women desiring to walk Biblically. Tonight I received a message from a dear sister in Christ. She simply stated, “I feel like asking, God are you really listening?”

I have asked that a few times in my own prayer life… and felt bad about it. As my heart burns with a deep desire to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God, it seems insulting to let the thought cross my mind that I might need to jump back into the driver’s seat of my life and let Jesus take a break for a few miles.

This is why it is CRUCIAL to know scripture. When Satan’s schemes appear in your life as ugly emotions, ungodly relationships, health difficulties, addiction, or fear, it is then that we must be prepared to walk confidently in the truth of the Word of God.

In this particular moment of my friend sharing her raw emotions, I was reminded of John’s doubts while in prison. In Matthew 11:3, John asked if Jesus was really “The One who is to come?” Note, John had already baptized Jesus even though he felt he was “unworthy to touch His sandals.” John knew who Christ was. He baptized Him in the name of His Father. Lastly, v. 2, John had heard what Christ was doing while he was sitting in prison. How often do you hear of Christ working boldly in someone else’s life and you wonder, “Ok, Jesus. When’s my turn?” Wow- that is a whole other lesson.

Anyways, Jesus never rebuked John for asking. For wondering. For maybe even fearing a little..

Jesus will not rebuke us in the moments of life when we just can’t seem to grasp what He is doing.

When our hearts are burdened and we can’t seem to release what we know He can hold, instead of bashing ourselves, we should reflect on the life of John.

John found himself in prison for preaching the Gospel of Jesus, fulfilling the prophacy that he would be the forerunner of Christ. He did not stay caught up in his doubt-He continued to love like the author of love. He found faith in our awesome God to be all he needed. He lived a life of devoted ministry to Christ.

“Truly I tell you, among these born of women no one greater than John the Baptist has appeared..” (Matt. 11:11).

God strengthened John to fulfill his calling in this life. He will strengthen us, too.

depending on the grace of God; part one

Depending on the grace of God and finding my worth solely in Him has always been a challenge for me. From a very young age, I battled the effects of being determined to succeed in MY plan by MY strength. I still wrestle with showing God I don’t need grace by reminding myself of areas in my life in which I consider myself an overachiever by nature.

I am the best daughter. I am an awesome granddaughter. I take pride in both of these areas of my life. Neither one is sinful in itself- in fact, I am commanded by God to honor my parents. But why?? I am called to be a wonderful daughter and granddaughter for the purpose of furthering God’s Kingdom. Not my own.

My point in sharing this is to confirm how incredibly easy it is to live a life based on ME rather than HE. After you label yourself as an overachiever in any area of your life, it is really easy to find your identity in what you are overachieving in rather than in Christ.

The Gospel clearly states this is sin. As Christians, we are called to replace ourselves piece by piece with the character of Jesus. Only in full surrender do we live by God’s grace. However, I am not dismissed by God when I make a mistake. He made it possible through the gift of His son for me to live a purposeful, grace-filled life despite my sinful nature.

Morning Routine: Praying Over Your Planner

Part of my morning routine includes praying over my plans for the day. I have found myself filling the pages of my planner with snippets from my meeting with God from that morning. A few words. A few minutes of my time. A major impact on my day. I am reminded what is most important: serving He who put me here.

As you walk through your morning, you should introduce your plans to your Savior. It makes all the difference in the world. My attitude towards what I must complete that day shifts. Ask God to make it clear to you what is most deserving of your time today. You may not get everything accomplished. That is ok. You may need to say no to both people and things. That is ok. Saying yes to serving God means saying no to things that are not necessary in my day or lacking to build me up in Him.

My day is more than lesson planning, writing demonstrations, or meetings. I have aligned my heart with Christ and seek to honor Him in each block of time. This is only effective when in a close walk with the Prince of Peace. I recommend a daily morning one on one conference with Him and be sure to take notes that will remind you of His plan and purpose for your life.

#intentionalbyimperfplanned