songforanewday

Knowing You, Meeting Me

He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not

1 John 4:18 – Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

Yeah, yeah. I know.   I haven’t blogged since July. Oppps. I just couldn’t get my spirit to relax enough. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I talk about a few things pretty consistently, fear, trust and faith being among them. But, just now, I realized I was missing a much bigger picture.

So this all makes sense, let me explain to you Mo’s Cycle of Apostasy (my 6 year old would love this…yay baby theo-geeks!). At first, Mo is loving God and trusting God and everything is hunky dory. Then, God asks her for more faith and trust. Uh oh. What do we do? Next, Mo questions everything she has ever heard from God. Ever. After all, she’s not the “spiritual one” (I’ll explain that in a moment). After that, Mo feels awful and pleads with God to forgive her. Lastly, to prove that she really, really, really DOES believe God, she tries (sorta) to trust Him again. Yeah, my blogs do read like that don’t they?

Apparently, I’ve been missing something pretty important.

I know I’ve used this verse once or twice before, but it just hit me right this second what it means for my life: “If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.”

This shows that I have not fully experienced His perfect love.

Things I have said many times on my blog – I don’t do trust or vulnerability and hope and expectation are the two things that scare me more than anything; actually, that’s only partly true. My deepest and greatest fear in life is that I can’t truly hear from God.

When my brother and I were growing up, he was known as Pastor, even from the age of 5. He was the “spiritual one”. Learning new things came easier to me and I had (correction, have) a pretty extensive vocabulary that I like to use because words are fun. That made me “the smart one”. I know that no one meant anything by it, but for the longest time, my brother did not see his own intelligence and I spiritually hid out. I couldn’t hear from God, so I was not meant for big things.

I’d be lying if I said that this fear doesn’t creep up on me now and again, but that’s kinda my point. I have not ALLOWED MYSELF or AVAILED MYSELF to fully experience perfect love. Why? Because it scares me. It’s part of the reason that, every so often, I “get too busy” to do any writing.

Ok, have you seen Despicable me? In the first few moments of the movie, Gru comes upon a child who is crying because his ice cream fell on the ground. The super villain makes a balloon animal for the boy, gives it to him (much to the boy’s delight) and then, just because he can, pops the balloon. THAT is what I have come to expect from people in my life. It makes a little bit of sense if you know me. That sort of thing has happened to me. It’s happened to everyone.

So, what is keeping me from letting God love me? Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” God isn’t going anywhere…right?

Apparently, that’s something else I’ve had trouble with. All of that leads to me freaking out whenever it seems as though the things I’ve been praying for are on their way because, why oh, why would God answer my prayer? Because, I asked.

*back to perfect love*

Human love is complicated. It’s messy and very often conditional. Sometimes, love can be heartbreaking. But, that’s how we do it. God is the very personified definition of love. All those things in 1 Corinthians 13 are who He is. Perfect love casts out fear.

So, that is my mission. Experience perfect love. I challenge you to do the same. Maybe, I’ll chronicle the journey and we can move on from fear to faith and from panicking to peace. Little by little, day by day, I will make a conscious effort to embrace the fact that Daddy God loves me. Me. Flawed me. Just as I am me. Imperfect me. Child of the One True King me.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

*love….who knew?*

 

Mo

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God’s Appointment Cards

I know, I know, I’ve been absent again. I’ve spent the majority of my summer being sick and taking antibiotics. Ick and yuck. I don’t know that I’m going to use my usual two or three verses in today’s post. To be honest, I don’t know if I’m going to use any. As you’ll see, they likely won’t be needed. Believe me, the point will be as clear for you as it was for me.

Today, I was at a doctor’s appointment, though (for once) not for myself. I was taking my son, Zachary, to his first appointment with his new neurologist. We showed up at 2:30 – right on time. We sat down to an empty waiting room and waited. We watched as this new doctor came in and out taking patients that walked in and registered after we had. I was, admittedly, indigent. I texted my best friend about the lesson God probably had for me to learn about waiting. Trust me when I say, I had no idea.

“The nerve of this guy!” I thought. “Just watch, he’s probably prophetic”, I texted, “he’s gonna say something the moment I walk back there and IMMEDIATELY I’m gonna know it’s from God”. I was half joking, but I had no idea how right I was. I kept texting and waiting and just as my bff had to go, a full 50 minutes later at 3:20, it was FINALLY our turn. I had so many thoughts running through my head. This is where my doctor is, so I knew I didn’t want to change all my family’s care, but I had a few words that I wanted to have with this new guy on professionalism…

…that is until…

“Hi…I understand you were here early…”

*heart dropped* “Oh….I guess I had the time wrong”

How many times are we like that? We show up early to a promise God has for us and then wonder where He is. We wonder if we got it wrong. We wonder if He lied. We wonder if He’s playing with us or if we missed it. We wonder. We get angry. We get annoyed. We get frustrated and upset. We sit in the waiting room and we text our bffs and we wait and we cry and we come up with things to say all the while, we got the appointment time wrong. It wasn’t the appointed time. I know that I know that I know I’ve done that!

(I guess I will use a verse after all)

2 Peter 3:9a The Lord is not slow about His promise

Now, I recognize that that’s not exactly how that verse may have originally been intended to be interpreted in that context, but the truth is nonetheless the same. One of my favorite songs right now is Sanctus Real – Promises, chorus simply “Hold on to the promises, Hold on to the promises, Jesus is alive so hold tight, Hold on to the promises”

I know that it can be exhausting to hold on to a word from God when what you see in front of you is….less than the word from the Lord. My son wants be a pastor, “just like Pastor T!!” My son has autism and a significant language delay. My son has a word over his life that there is something he has to say that is going to rock enemy territory…which is why his words have been stolen (and, likely why when I try to type this, my computer tries to delete it).  It’s hard to think of the future when he can’t even tell me about his day. But, it’s not time yet. I can’t get angry when we’ve shown up too early. What I can do is trust that when it is time, the Physician will show up on time ready, willing and able to meet my need and fulfill His promises.

The same is true for you. Just make sure you double check your appointment card.

 

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Moving Past the Mountain

I love my church. I belong to an incredible community of Christ-following believers who are loving, compassionate and the real deal. Our pastor is an amazing man of God and he and his wife go out of their way to make everyone feel like a necessary piece of our puzzle. Two thumbs up for the House of God!

Lately, he’s been preaching about the Israelites wilderness experience – kinda funny, because I’m writing a book on worship in the wilderness. He’s been talking a lot about the way that God loves you enough to let you go around your mountain and keep walking around it until you’ve dealt with your stuff and are ready to go through to the Promise Land. This has been so timely for me because I feel like I’ve been in my wildnerness for a very long time. There’s only one problem and it occurred to me while talking to my best friend this morning.

You ever have one of those moments where you start talking and then you say something that shocks even you? Yep, Jehovah Sneaky (I stole that one…but you know you feel that way sometimes. Haha) pulled one of those on me this morning. “It’s almost like because I’m so stuck in the shame and the guilt of what could have been and what didn’t happen that I keep walking around my own mountain while God just stands there pointing to the door going, ‘anytime now…you can go through aaaannnnnyyyytime now!’”

At which point this gets whispered into my spirit: “As a matter of fact, that’s EXACTLY what it’s like!”

 

….opps….

But, how many of us do that? We forget that, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1) We forget that God’s plans for our lives don’t stop when we forget to walk through the door the first time….or the second….or the third. We believe that God will put us on the shelf of unusable things if we’ve messed up too many times so we punish ourselves and try to reach that next phase of perfection before we’ll allow ourselves to be used by God.

The first problem with that is that we in our own strength can’t do that anyway. The second is that we’re not supposed to wait. Paul put’s it like this:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 – emphasis mine)

I am the first to admit, I’m not the best example at forgetting my own mistakes – past or present. I want to present the best version of myself to God to be used by Him mightily when all He’s saying is “Come as you are and let Me do the rest!!”

So, that’s why the song of the day is Israel Houghton’s Moving Forward. There is a door right in front of me and a mountain behind me. I’ve punished myself too long and this is a wilderness I have grown tired of walking around. It’s time for me to take the next step and walk through the door. Even if I’m dusty, even if my shoes are dirty, even if I don’t look the best, God can fix the rest when I get there. We can work on the rest on our way. Time to forget what lies behind and press towards the goal – I have a lot of goals and being stuck here won’t get any of them accomplished.

One. Two. Three…and GO!

 

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You the First

I’ve been absent for a whole month. For most of that time, I’ve had a pretty clear picture of what I wanted to say, I just didn’t feel I could say it. I don’t like to write about things I want to feel as though I’ve already mastered the task – that feels disingenuous to me. So, I knew I had to wait. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I knew I would know when I did.

Today, I found out.

I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I have four kids. I like watching TV with them because it lets me keep an eye on what they’re taking in and gives us something to talk about. One of their favorite shows as of late is the ADORABLE Disney Junior show, Sophia the First. It’s about a little girl who lived with her mom in the village until a (presumably widowed) king met her mom, fell in love and married her. The king had two kids of his own and the blended family decided to forego the “step” formality and move right into the happily ever after (I’m skipping over a lot of stuff that really isn’t pertinent…just stick with me for a sec).

King Roland gave Sophia a special gift (an amulet that allows her to talk to animals) and constantly reminds her that she is a princess because He – oh, I’m sorry – he is the king and she is his daughter. Sophia worries a lot about fitting in and getting the princess thing right, but seems to do ok with the support of her friends and family.

Ok – background….

For the past while, I’ve been feeling like I’m getting this whole “Child of the King” thing wrong. I know a lot of Scripture and I can “do” a lot of the “right” things, but sometimes, it feels like fluff. I feel like there’s a place I’m supposed to get to and it’s a place I should be already. Maybe if I read my Bible more or spent more time listening to Christian music (btw, I don’t really have the time to listen to ANY music other than the Sophia the First soundtrack and a steady stream of Wiggles. I don’t really listen to any secular music…so this shouldn’t even bother me, but it does.). Maybe if I did this differently or did that more…maybe, maybe, maybe….

Maybe, if I were just better…

*back to our originally scheduled cartoon…*

So, today, the kids and I are watching Sophia the First. I’ve had a Sophia the First song (from an episode that, until today, I had never seen) stuck in my head all day (and actually, for the past two or so weeks). She sings about trying to prove that she belongs as a princess and is good enough. She has the right “look” to make her a princess, but isn’t sure that’s enough. So, in this episode, she has to take a princess exam. All the other princesses are telling her to make sure her dress is clean and her fan is flitted just right and everything is just perfect. On the way into the building, they all meet Mrs. Higgins who asks for help getting back to her house with some books after her wagon broke down. Out of all the girls, Sophia alone stopped to help.

There were a lot of hang ups on the way to the cottage and on the way, everything Sophia was supposed to “get right” was destroyed. She fell in the mud. she lost her fan and looked absolutely awful by the end of it. She got Mrs. Higgins home, as promised, but missed her test completely…except that she didn’t. Mrs. Higgins wasn’t Mrs. Higgins at all – but her fairy teacher in disguise. The cottage melted away to reveal the examination hall. The princess that showed up for the test received silver stars for their work. Muddied, exasperated, broken Sophia alone was honored with a golden trophy because she showed what was most important of a princess – a heart filled with kindness and love.

So…what was the point?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” furthermore, Galatians 2:16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

Are works, acts, and the law important? Of course. But, as I’m sure King Roland would tell Sophia, we are not children of the King because we go to the royal school, we go to the royal school because we are children of the King. It is the relationship that comes first. Out of that relationship comes the natural fruit of obedience because of the love that is there. That’s what God has been spending MONTHS (I can hear my husband yelling “YEEEAAAARRRS!!!!” behind me) trying to teach me. Number One – I’m His daughter. Period. End of story. Everything else falls under that.

I don’t know who, needed to read that. I know I needed to see it. Funny how it took a children’s program to make me understand something God has been whispering to me for a long time. Maybe He’s whispering to you. Either way it looks like I need to reconfigure the way I see things…

do you?

Until next time…

Mo

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Juuuuust one more thing…

Hmmm…how to begin? This post is going to be a bit different. For one, I’m pretty sure it will be shorter. Nice and sweet and (almost) straight to the point. Ready? Here we go…

When last we met in this virtual coffeehouse of sorts, I told you about a few things: two of my best friends, the way I don’t like depending on other people, and how God is using both of those things to teach me more about myself. I want to continue that conversation with a bit of an add on.

Remember that scene from almost every sci-fi or geek movie (yeah….that’s another thing about me – I am EXTREMELY geek)? You know the one…our hero steps into the seemingly blank space and out of nowhere thousands of shelves of (insert object here) appear for the choosing? Yeah…that scene. I was thinking about my tendency to get into my own way because of my desire to do things on my own all the time. Sometimes, that messes things up.

For example, my laptop charger was on my desk which was closer to my husband than to me. Yes, it would have been easy to ask him for it – especially since he could see what it was tangled up in – but, it was just as easy (because, it really really wasn’t) to do it myself. The result? I reached, but not far enough and down came a toppled mess of stuff. Like I said, he could see the solution to a problem I didn’t even realize existed (ooooh….DEEP!)

Here is my point – and where that movie scene comes in – what if God wanted to take us into a room filled with all the amazing blessings He has for us? All the plans? All the awesome…but we just keep getting in our own way because we want to try and find the room ourselves. You know that room. You’ve seen that room. It looks like a sheet of printer paper. You can’t find the door or a window or anything to get in. You just have to follow the plans of the One guiding you there.

So, to any of you, and maybe one of you in particular (cause, gee, I think you’re swell), who feel like they’re behind on the plan, let’s go back to Psalms 37 (this time, verse 23), “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him”. If God is ordering your steps, all is well. You know how to follow in the footprints. So, take a breath and then take a step, one by one by one….

….ready? It’s go time.

<3 Mo

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Lesson Learned

 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future

Jeremiah 29:11

I use that verse a lot in my writing. Today, it hit me in an entirely new way. I am a planner. This is something that isn’t news to ANYONE who knows me – especially, my husband and two of my best friends (Priscilla and Melody, also organized planners – I love them so!). I like when things are in order and in place. I get migraines when things are in chaos. Those who have seen the second Tinkerbell movie will understand why my husband says this to me all the time, “Fairy Mary, why are you counting?”

What can I say? I like plans. 1 Corinthians 14:33 is an often (mis)quoted verse that people like to sum up as “God is not the author of confusion”. This is true, but not the reason I OBSESS over my plans. Yes, I said that right. MY plans. My organization. MY order. So often I get so caught up in what I have to do – or think­­ – I have to do, that what really is important gets lost.

Another thing to know, I don’t do dependence…not very well anyway. Someone will ask me how they can help, and even if I tell them, in the back of my mind I’m always creating a contingency plan for when they don’t come through (hey, we’ve already established I have trust issues).  It makes for a very busy, very complicated way to spend my days.

Did I mention, I also do this when it comes to God? Didn’t think so…

I told this story on my old blog, but I’ll give a brief synopsis here. Almost two years ago, one of the two aforementioned bffs, Priscilla, sent me a text message – “God says this is for you, John 16:24, ‘Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.’” Ok, fine. So, I started thinking of things I thought God would want me to ask for, and I thought of the ways I could tell God, “that’s ok, I didn’t want it anyway”, when He said, “no”.

Since then, God has been changing the way I pray and changing the way I view myself in His eyes. So, I went from presenting my business plan to my boss to taking a wish to a Daddy that asked for it. I don’t view God as Automatic Prayer Dispenser who exists to give me what I want like On Demand programming. But, He loves us and desires to take care our needs AND (sometimes) our desires. My (ironic) life verse is Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. When your heart is aligned with God’s, your desires for you are His desires for you, so He desires to give it to you anyway.  So, when my Heavenly Daddy couldn’t get my attention, He sent my best friend to ask me, “what do you want?”

It took 18 months for me to begin to answer…at least in the way He was looking for (I want *this* just because).  I’ll tell that story later…when we get to the end of it. Anyway, even as I was asking and praying, not presenting a business plan (this is how my prayer will benefit You, God!) I was expecting to be disappointed and/or ignored (told you my life verse was ironic). Even as the pieces fell together I wasn’t expecting God to come through. Recently, all that has changed…but that’s not really what this is about…

Back to the verse from the very top, Jeremiah 29:11….I was thinking back on the journey of how my life has changed since this whole thing began. I was thinking about everything I’ve learned and how my prayer life has grown and how I’ve grown and how I’m more brave than I used to be and how I believe that Philippians 1:6 is true – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. If all my prayers had been answered on my schedule and in my planning timeline, I would have missed all this. I would have missed out on all the growth I’ve had, all the tears I needed to cry, all the times God spoke, everything.

I would have missed the entire lesson for the sake of scheduling the class.

Does that make sense? That’s how I feel. I feel like it was so important for me to do this in a certain order that I failed to remember the point of going to class is the lesson!!!

I still like my plans. I still LOVE my handy dandy pocket secretary of a phone. I love my planners and office supply stores still make me happy. But, I get it now. None of that is more important than time with the Teacher who wrote the course book and knows what’s coming at the end of all of this. I couldn’t handle today’s lesson yesterday because I didn’t have the proper foundation. I wasn’t ready. Today, I learned what I’ll need to be ready for tomorrow. One day, I’ll be ready for everything God has for me. Then, we start over with something new. Until then, I’ll keep studying, keep working, keep showing up for class knowing that He will always be there ready to teach.

Pencils ready….aaaaaand….go!

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Brave Words

 

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I last updated! I hope the month is starting off well for you all.

Today, I want to talk about words – well, duh. That’s pretty much all we do here. We read and write words. I’m not talking just any words; I want to talk about bad words. Well….one bad word.

Daddy.

I didn’t realize how much that word still hurt me until this past Sunday. We were in the midst of an amazing worship service when our dutiful and awesome worship leader sang, “What kind of father would hear his children cry and turn away?” She was trying to convey the nature of our perfect Heavenly Father. That makes sense. However, I can’t even explain what that did to me. I lost my footing so badly that I pulled a muscle in my right leg.

My family likes to believe I’m holding onto anger. That isn’t true. The fact that my first memory is of the day my dad left? Yeah…that is true. It doesn’t make him a bad guy, just human. And regardless of who was at fault, I didn’t talk to him again until I was 14. Suffice it to say, Daddy became a bit of a bad word to me.

I can remember people telling me that God was my father and that I would be ok. And, to a very large degree, that has proven to be true.

That is, until I pull away.

How many of you know you can’t run with a pulled muscle in your leg? So, when the message of the day came from Joshua 1:1-9, I couldn’t do anything but sit there and listen….and cry…a lot (which I don’t really do anymore).

Be strong and courageous.

That is mentioned three different times within that passage. I will be with you. “But, what if I feel all alone?” Be strong and courageous, for I will never leave you or forsake you. “But, what if people don’t like me?” Be strong and courageous.  “But…what if my own family doesn’t want me?” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!

To say that an omniscient God knows things I don’t is a gross understatement. But, what I have come to realize is that since all my battles have already been won for me, I have nothing to worry about.

In my bedroom is a singing Doc McStuffins Doc and Lambie set (the parents and babysitters of the Disney Junior generation and will follow me. The rest of you….pretend). My husband and I bought it for our 5 & 6 year old daughters. It’s theirs, but, they can’t have it yet. They have to work for it first. I want a clean room and chores and good behavior before it comes out of the box. In the same way, when I ask them to do something new (like when we moved out of Pennsylvania), if I tell them not to be afraid, it’s because I know what waits for us. I know what’s at the end of the journey and I know they will love it when we arrive (which all four of them did).

God isn’t asking me for my bravery because He’s planning to push me into a battle with a wet noddle for a sword, He asks because He knows He is with me and because He knows what is at the end.

I suppose this was more about bravery than my bad word. But, in a lot of ways those two things are connected. My past makes it hard for me to trust people. But, my God gives me the strength to.

Did I mention, though I started  writing this earlier, the end of my day was kinda awful?  Be strong and courageous.  

Ok…fine. The alternator on my car died on the highway, but I will be strong and courageous. I sometimes feel like I’m being passed over while my friends seem to get blessed all the time, but I will trust that You are with me. I have no idea what to make of anything You are doing right now, but I will remember that You will never leave me or forsake me. You are faithful when I am faithless so I will trust that you will get me from this….these battles and into my Promised Land. And, I will sing Your praises on the way.

I’ll keep the rest of you posted on the details…

~Mo

 

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Worshipper Me

One of my favorite songs right now, is one written by the phenomenal Freda Battle. It’s a pretty simple song with a pretty powerful punch. Here are the words:

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that’s within me

Every day is a joy to know You as Savior and Lord

I’m reminded as I reflect on Your goodness

Your love and mercy endure forevermore

Oh, bless the name of Jesus

Oh, oh my soul, bless the name of the Lord

Oh , oh, oh, oh, bless the name of Jesus,

Oh, my soul, bless the name of the Lord

Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Prince of Peace

The God who heals all disease and removes all my iniquities

See? Not that complicated. I’ll bet you already have it memorized. But, I could – and have – listened to this song for hours on end. Why? Simple – I understand it.

Back in 2000, I was going to a Christian college. I grew up in a Christian home, but decided that I wanted to know if I really believed in God or just was trained to believe in God. Actually, that’s not entirely true. There was a boy (duh) that was feeling like that and even though I did have my own questions, when he decided he was an atheist, I decided that I was an atheist. It didn’t’ go so well.

My (literal) week as an atheist went something like this:

Me: I don’t believe in You anymore, God!

God: Then, why are you talking to Me?

Me: Uh…ummm…

God: And, we both know you hear Me. So, you’re either not an atheist, or you’re crazy. You pick and get back to me.

Me: Oh, crap.

I wish I could tell you I was making this up, but, there are people who were there who still (as of this past weekend in fact) like to joke about it. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, I love to remember that because it reminds me how far I’ve come.

God was right, I’m not an atheist and I never was. I am a worshipper. Worship is the stuff that makes me get up in the morning. The day we found out my son, Kameron (now 9) had cancer (he wasn’t even 2 at the time), the first thing I did was cry, the second thing I did was worship. That’s always been my go to reaction. Something bad happens – first I cry second I worship. In my entire life – even when I tried to walk away from Him – God didn’t walk away from me. He’s held me in the palm of His hand my entire life and He’s doing the same with my family. This is why it wasn’t a surprise to know that my son’s tumor shrank faster than it was supposed to and his 18 month chemo plan was finished inside of 10.

In the words of a fabulous songwriter, William Murphy, “praise is what I do”. There have been times – including during the chemo…and the autism…and the celiac disease – that people have wondered how I can still believe and turn to God. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” What that means to me is that even when my kid is sick because he’s had poison injected into his body, even when my husband has trouble finding a job, even when my mom dies, even then, my Heavenly Daddy is there to take care of us.

“For this I give You praise” (“For Every Mountain” -  Kurt Carr)

I sing because I get it. I praise because I understand. I ran away and came groveling back expecting to be reprimanded and told how much I “knew better”. But, that’s not what happened. The loving arms of my God welcomed me back and set me at a place of honor. And now? Now He’s using who I am to bring glory to Him. I love that! I get to write and to sing and to – through Him – be the very best version of me.

I’m not perfect. I’ve messed up and I’ve even been an (albeit very bad) atheist. But, it’s not my past that gets to define me. Dare I say, it’s not even my present that has to define me. It’s the words that are written on my destiny by my Creator. The words that say, “you are mine and that’s why you are enough”.

So, like I said, I’m a worshipper. It’s not what I do, it’s the DNA that makes me who I am. And now, I get to walk that out. I even get to take my cheesy dancing husband (who, btw, wasn’t the boy, but knew the boy and did know I wasn’t the atheist I claimed to be) with me. He has no rhythm, but I love him anyway. I have enough rhythm for both of us. LOL.

I guess February has been the month of me encouraging you. It’s been me letting you know that your life isn’t over and that your future is just beginning. God’s love is bigger than your past. My best friend likes to say, “your destiny stands in need of you”. Take God’s hand, find out who you are – and who you aren’t – and go get it.

See you next month,

Mo

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More Than Gold

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

“This, this is for all those girls

Boys all over the world.

Whatever you’ve been told

You’re worth more than gold

So, hold head up high

It’s your time to shine

From the inside out it shows

You’re worth more than gold.”

Gold – Britt Nicole

 

Today, I am feeling inspired. I have this amazing little sister. Well, she’s not exactly my little sister. She’s my friend’s daughter that I love like a sister. Every time I see her, she greets me with a smile and a hug and makes me feel like the entire world is stopping to love me. Not many people on the planet have that power. This awesome girl does – it’s one of the many many reasons I love her so much.

It’s not just her incredible hugs that inspire me; it’s who she is. This girl has been through so much and still she has the biggest heart of almost anyone I know. She has every reason on the planet to be jaded, and yet she just floors me with who she is. I quite literally thank God for her presence in my life.

But, here’s the thing – sometimes, I get the feeling that she doesn’t know how phenomenal she is, which I find completely tragic! She’s a teenager, and other teenagers can be mean, so I know that the brave face she tries to put on sometimes is just a really good act. I’m sure that you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, what to do? I suppose the first place to start is the same place I always do – the Bible. Ok, so Jeremiah 29:11 is obvious – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I love that! God takes His time to not only form us in our mother’s womb, but to plan out an amazing life for us! Even more, if we were the only one who needed His salvation, He would still consider it worth the cost. If. You. Were. The. Only. One. That’s love. In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells a parable about a shepherd who went out to look for one lost sheep out of 100 because He had love for each sheep and considered each to be priceless. Ok – by the same logic, each of us is priceless. Each of us is a crucial and necessary piece of God’s puzzle designed with precision and intent. That should make us feel pretty amazing!!

Oh, but what if life isn’t so great all the time? We aren’t promised that it will be. But, we are promised the love of a God that will “never leave or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). Even more, Deuteronomy 31:6 reiterates this thought: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I have four kids. I love them all. They are amazing and incredible. They each have their own personalities and quirks and idiosyncrasies that remind me of their individuality and uniqueness and remind me of how aware of God’s presence in my life I am. They are my world. Even though I love them differently, I love them equally. If something happened to one of them, I wouldn’t be happy because I’d have the other three. All four are very necessary pieces of my existence.

For that matter, so is my little sister.

So, what was the point of all this? Bragging rights? Yeah…admittedly, a little of that. But, even more, I need you to know how very much you are loved. It’s not enough for me to just live the life of a Sunday morning Christian if my life doesn’t constantly remind you that you’re worth more than gold. If I haven’t done that, I haven’t completed my mission. No matter who you are or what you’ve done or where you come from or who has forgotten about you – and this part is really important – YOU ARE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY! You have a God who finds you more beautiful than all the stars He put in the sky. He is dazzled by your smile and amazed at your feats. He cries when you’re sad. Your prayers don’t fall on deaf ears (more on that another day). You. Are. Loved.

I know that you may not always feel that way and I know some people like to make you feel otherwise. They’re lying. You’re amazing. And, I don’t have to know you to know that. So, consider this a reminder of how incredibly special and wondrous you are. If the God who hung the sun in the sky declares you enough and worth it, who is anyone else to tell you otherwise?

Yeah…I didn’t think so.

Be blessed and feel loved!

~ Mo

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Feeling Sleepy

“I’m tired, I’m worn my heart is heavy

From the work it takes to keep on breathing

I’ve made mistakes; I’ve let my hope fail

My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world

And I know that You can give me rest

So, I cry out with all that I have left

 

Let me see redemption win

Let me know the struggle ends

That You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise

From the ashes of a broken life

And all that’s dead inside can be reborn

‘Cause I’m worn; yes, I’m worn

 

-          “Worn” Tenth Avenue North

If you read anything from my old blog (which I just recently transferred here), then you know that I try to be as real and honest as I can be in my writing. Today is the kind of day that I just want to write from where I am.

I’m married. I have four kids. My oldest has autism, ADHD, a bit of anxiety and to top it off, Celiac Disease. YAY! Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But, my life is exhausting. I have great people around me that are very supportive. But, I also have naysayers that like to throw rocks at me because they know I won’t return the favor.

In short – I’m worn.

I’m a Christian – no surprise there. I haven’t hidden it from the blog nor written about much of anything – if anything – else. I’m not just the go to church on Sunday and forget about God on Monday kind of Christian, but the type that is in relationship with the God of the Christian Bible. Every decision I make – and, particularly the ones I don’t make – is filtered through the fact that I am a Christian.

When other people are feeling worn, they typically come to me for advice because I love to encourage. I have a mental storage box of stories, scripture and song that I can break out at will for the right situation. Lately, I’ve felt a bit empty. I am running on fumes. It’s as though I’m on the highway trying desperately to keep up with the flow of traffic, but I know my gas light is on and at any moment I’m going to just stop.

I’m worn.

So, now what? I’m not the first mom to have a lot on her plate and I certainly won’t be the last. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (NASB). I often say, “It is by the grace of God I made it through this day!” Apparently, I’m not wrong. I’m worn. And that’s ok.

This is not the best blog piece I’ve ever written and to be honest it probably isn’t the worst. I’m learning that I don’t have to rely on my own strength (which is good because I have none!!!!) “I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m just too weak, life just won’t let up. And I know that You can give me rest, so I cry out with all that I have left.” That I CAN do. I don’t know if I have it in me to finish cleaning my house or doing the laundry, but I can give myself a few moments to let the love of my Savior wash over me and restore me.

Jehovah Jireh is my provider. Right now, I need strength. I need to get through this day, this week, this month. I need to get to the next phase of my life and make it there in one piece. The wonderful thing is that I don’t have to do it on my own. Psalm 23:4 ”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me.” Not my strength, but Yours.

So, I guess this is a little more to the introduction of me. I’ll write more “happy” later. In the meantime, know that if you are feeling worn, there is a very big very loving Father God who desires to let you rest in His loving-kindness. My advice to you? Go take a rest!

zzzzzzzzzz

~Mo

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