Oh, Kanye!

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius, I would be lying to you and to myself.”

~straight faced Kanye West

kanye west

Ok.  So there is MUCH I could say about Kanye West.  The one thing I don’t want to come from this post is for people to think that I am supporting him and encouraging people to go out and buy his albums.  My first allegiance is to Jesus Christ and I try to live in a way that reflects such.  For me to encourage people to buy a Kanye West album would confuse what I believe and who and what I stand for.  That being said, as troubled, mixed up and confused as he is, the guy ain’t all bad.  He makes some good points.  Sometimes.  Like in his recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel.

So, I first heard about the interview in a conversation between the ladies of The View last week.  The table was split with differing opinions around the portion of the interview from which the above quote was taken.  Some of the women felt that it was appropriate for West to tout and give himself props and respect for his talent, skill and vast array of contributions.  Others felt that it was too much and that in general it’s better to let others tell you how great you are rather than tell the world about your greatness.  There’s a strong argument for either side but, for this one (JUST this one), I’m going with Kanye. . . kind of.

I thought of many things regarding Kanye’s comments after I took a few minutes to gather myself from laughing so hard at him.  Not that I thought he was joking, but the contrary.  The sincerity and seriousness in his delivery incited an uproar of laughter.  It was just that good to me.  Who says of themselves that they are genius?  In fact, most of my life I was encouraged to do the complete opposite and it (with suitable accomplices) produced a girl who struggled with low self esteem, low self concept, masquerading with false humility and an inability to appropriately accept a compliment.  So where I start to lean toward Kanye’s perspective is slight, but enough to say it’s okay to say you’re great . . .so long as you know why and how.

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. ~Romans 12:3 (AMP)

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.   ~2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)

It is no more right to walk around pretending to have low to mediocre talent when you know you exemplify excellence an area than it is to walk around replaying your own commercial on your greatness.  So many of us, present company included, need to be convinced, repeatedly, of the ways that God has gifted us thereby delaying our participation in His plans for us, and stubbing our effectiveness in being salt and light wherever He has placed us on the earth.  Kanye was on to something but, dear one that he is, until he comes to know, truly know Christ, he’ll only and always be great in his own eyes (as well as a devoted family and a few wool-eyed, adoring fans) and will be unlikely to cease his work of convincing other people of it.

When you know that you are great because you have believed and received Christ’s great sacrifice and walk in the ways that He has especially and specifically called and gifted you for His purposes there are certain benefits.  Namely, you don’t suffer from identity crisis– you know who you are and whose you are.  The chances of you identifying yourself by anything other than who God says you are, are slim.  Should satan grab hold of your mind and cause you to question, you reach for your manual (the Bible) for reminders.  You greet each day in light of your calling and you surrender your purposes to His will for your life.  You stand up a little straighter and you dare not compare yourself to others because you realize that you have your own work to do.  As provocative as it may be to hear Kanye call himself a genius, believers in Christ are tied to greatness in an unshakable way and we don’t have to shout it out.  But when He reveals His glory to us time and time again, we seem to do that anyway because we come to understand that our greatness is but a mere, faint shadow of the power source enabling us to show up everyday.

I’ve posted the last part of the interview here.  Watch it if you’d like but, save a psych eval from an unprofessional, after watching it I have compassionately added him to my prayer list as I sincerely feel for him.  I posted it because as Kanye was talking about what his mother told him to believe, I could only think about my relationship with Christ and what my heavenly Father, through His word, has told me to believe.  Can’t go wrong with that.  #tryJesus

Photo Credit:  http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/06/20/kanye-wests-yeezus

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Happy Monday!

Yes! Happy Monday, You Beautiful People!!!

Happy Monday

Thinking of you and praying for you today.  I’m actually praying that we’d be tickled pink to start this day today!  Wouldn’t that give satan a kick in the teeth?!?!!!  I’m convinced that with as many people who dread Monday mornings (or Monday altogether), he thinks he has our joy on lock today more than any other day.  But we can have victory in Jesus.  Remember to take your medicine.

May you have a blessed, encouraged and positive start to the work week–whether you work in your home, outside of your home, or not at all.  I’m praying blessings, effectiveness, provision and fellowship with the Lord for you today.

I’m finishing up Beth Moore’s 10 week bible study called Believing God and it has been phenomenal.  This is the prayer that I’m praying for myself as I start my day today:

My Lord and my God, I thank you for another day to know You and believe You.  Whatever means you may choose to increase my faith today, I commit myself to that end.

~ Beth Moore in Believing God

Believing God takes courage but it also takes us on a fantastic ride.  You may think your life has enough excitement, for good or for bad, but dare to actively believe God in every area of your life and allow the Lord to thrill you with His revelations and His goodness and your life will never be the same.

Pray this prayer with me today?

On Love . . .

on love . . .

Love heals.  Heals and liberates.  I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.” ~Maya Angelou in Mom & Me & Mom 

Thinking about when was the last time I loved on purpose . . . As a mom and a wife, most of the time my love is set on default; it’s just what I do.  Love is in every move I make, every sacrifice, every offering . . .the sweet good morning hugs and hellos, enthusiastically and  intently listening to the same story more than twice, giving lessons, watching movies with tired eyes and a heavy mind, embracing, caring, sharing . . .  But, I asked myself today as I reread this impactful, little passage, when was the last time I made love my ambition, purpose, aspiration, intent . . .my ulterior motive?  In this world of broken hearts and distracted minds, surely there’s someone in my life right now who needs me to consider this . . .and act on it . . .

illustration by my niece, Nazaria Metz

His

All my fears and inhibitions fade away when I recognize . . .

. . .that I am His . . .

. . .my identity is in Christ . . .

. . .who I really am is in Christ . . .

. . .everything I need is in Christ . . .

. . .Christ is my source. . .

. . .Christ is my self-esteem . . .

. . .He is BIG in me!!!!

Hallelujah!  You are BIG in me!!!!

…… lying with the quiet calm that comes with the end of a day.  It’s rather late, so perhaps you won’t read this until morning but my mind is swirling and looping with all of the events, conversations, people and responsibilities that filled my Monday.  However the thought that keeps circling back to the front of my mind is my identity in Christ.

I can sense my savior’s urgent message for me to identify myself by no other standard than by the word of God.  And I believe He wants that for you as well.

I was sharing with the ladies in bible study tonight that for so much of my life I have been running from being labeled a statistic, running from my past, past mistakes made and poor choices executed, doing my best to define and position myself so that I can control how people see me and therefore what they think of me.  I have been able to accomplish and have some good things in my time but they became the standard by which I identified myself.  If I were to list even a couple of these things it would only be perpetuating the very thing that the Lord is trying to get me to pull away from: identifying myself by the standards of this world.  I am nothing more and nothing less than what the word of God says that I am.  I draw my strength, my value and my identity directly from the heart and mind of the almighty God.  

Now, how does that sit with you?  Does finding your identity in Christ and not in the pieces of the American Dream you currently do or don’t possess scare you?  If you lost absolutely everything you have today, perhaps your own version of a Job experience, would you have any clue about who you are?  Take heart.  He wants us to know the truth about ourselves.  As I explore His word to find myself, I am taking refuge in the fact that I am completely His and I’m putting this on repeat:

The Spring of Things

the spring of things

I think that spring is God’s way of calling on nature to remind us of the sweetness and beauty to be found in new beginnings . . .

     that is, if we dare to receive them . . .

The cycle rolls ever onward;

22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” ~Genesis 8:22 ESV

We can be seized by the mundane rote disguised as the day to day.

We can drown in our legitimate sorrows and stresses.

Or . . .

. . .we can hope against hope,

(re)set goals,

lift up prayers (even for those situations and people that have been filed away in the “lost cause” pile),

submit plans (tweaked and reworked where necessary) . . .

We can try, yet another day, to begin again.

Even if that means beginning at 1.

After all, spring rains till the ground for some of summer’s most enduring blooms. . .

what I’m trying to say is,

. . . while the earth remains, there is still time to begin again. . .

So, I’m blowing the dust off of the small, black qwerty pegs as I say a prayer for discipline and grace to make a beginning once more.

What are some goals, plans, or works that you’ve set aside and need to return to?  Will you join me?

Take Your Medicine

It’s Sunday night, a night of bittersweets. . .

Most of us have enjoyed a beautiful day alone or with family and friends . . .the house is quieting down, lovers may be cuddling up for a movie, friends may be finishing up conversations . . .preparations for the next day have been made . . .or not.  No matter how we feel about it or how we’ve decided to address it, we have all realized by now that tomorrow is Monday.

Seems like most of us dread Mondays.  Lord knows I’ve had some times where I was downright depressed about Mondays.  I’m not even joking.

But, Frans, I’m trying something new that I wanted to get you in on.  I just discovered that I have a drug that I can take that’ll help me deal with Mondays, Tuesdays, Bluesdays and all the other days too.  Check this out:

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body. (Proverbs 4:20-22, NASB)

So, are you trying to tell me that reading the word brings me health and life?  Oh yes, chile.  Yes, I am.

No matter what Monday holds for you, or any day for that matter, you can face it with joy, confidence, security, and love by taking your medicine.  Read the word of God, listen to scripture, write it down, memorize His words, soak them in!  Soak them up!  The thing is, unlike any other medication, there is no danger involved in overdosing.  Try and see.  Put the word of God on everything you are facing.  He is so worth it.  You can take Him at His word.  His word is His bond.  He is trustworthy and His word works for our lives, NOW!

19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NASB)

Not sure what Monday holds for you but you don’t have to bow to it.  You serve a very big God who has put His spirit in you and left His word for you to wield as a mighty sword to combat Satan, call him out as the liar that he is, take over your day and be victorious in all of the things that He will put your hands to!

So, which verse or set of verses will you look up tonight?  All the power you need lies within you through the holy spirit and can be activated by encouraging your faith through the word of God.

Take some time to get into the word then stand up and shout with a voice of triumph, “bring it on Monday!!!”

Tonight I Tripped Over a Barbie Doll

It was pitch black dark in the den.  After a long day, tired and frustrated I was making my way down to the breakfast room for some sense to be talked into me.  For some words of prayer to be spoken over me.  And there she was.  Just a smiling.  All sprawled out on the hardwood floor like that’s where she belonged.  Like I was in her way.  Of course because it was dark, I got a little nervous about what exactly was lying on the floor that sent my feet into an impromptu jig that could have rendered my body bruised and scratched tonight.

Then I realized it was her.  And a funny thing happened.

I didn’t get mad.  I didn’t think about how she got left there or who it was that should have picked her up.  I fought the temptation to use that as a time to run that movie in my mind where I play the thankless mom who cleans up after the girls and cares for the huni and am often overlooked.  Because it’s a reality show that plays on repeat in my head most days.

But not tonight.

My immediate thought was gratitude and thankfulness.  I smiled at that ole barbie.  Because I thought about my little girls and the great joy that they bring me everyday.  I thought about how much fun I have playing with them and how much happiness I receive when they are happy.  And let me tell you, after a day like today when we run out of time for afternoon naps and have to endure each other in our sleepiest, crankiest of states, these were gooooood thoughts to dwell on.  And a sure blessing from God and a sign of His growing me that these were among the first thoughts to spring into my psyche.

This job of being mom and wife is hard.  And everyday carries with it a new challenge, a new opportunity for me to get over myself and enjoy this life I have been given, to see my children and husband as gifts, not burdens and to realize that I am so blessed to have this family of mine.  On the sunny days and the rainy ones.  While the babies are napping and when they’re running off of remnants of last night’s sleep.  Oh, Pamela.  That you would count it all joy.

Tonight I tripped over a barbie doll and instead of wanting to throw her out of the nearest window, I smiled, placed her in her “bed,” and thanked God for the little girls who clamor to play with her each day.

Rock on all you wives and mamas out there.  You are never overlooked.  He longs to be gracious to you and He always sees you.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Wednesdays with Beth: Family Calamity and Restoration pt 7

So, a few months ago I followed this series, Family Calamity, and dealt with some pretty sensitive thoughts concerning my family of origin and how this series helped me.  I posted each part of the series but somehow I missed this past installment!  I’m not sure if this is new, but I am so glad that I had a chance to catch it, honey!  (wipes sweat off brow with great conviction and drama!)

If you belong to a family, take a listen . . .

Check out the rest of the series in the archives here or on www.lifetoday.org

She Reads Truth

SheReadsTruth

And at the risk of sounding like Tamar Braxton,  I proudly say that “she” is me, and I read His truth daily.  Booooom!

I found this site some time ago and wanted to share it with you right away, but I figured I’d give it a run for myself a few times so that I could recommend it with some conviction.  I can!!  When I started reading with the group, they were reading from the bible app YouVersion a plan called “The Surrendered Life.”  It was good; a few verses a day, some commentary from the site’s authors and a forum of other women commenting on how the word touched them that day.  The next plan rolled right in and it was the Proverbs plan.  Honestly, that plan changed my life.  And it’s been a sustaining change in helping me to watch my mouth and my motives.

SO. what is She Reads Truth?  Well, if you visit the site you’ll get the full story but the gist of it is that there were some women who looked at their lives and daily routines and noticed that engaging God through His word on a daily, consistent basis was not happening in their lives and they wanted that to change.  Recognizing the power of community, they decided that they would make a decision to dig into the word daily and look for God to reveal Himself in their lives and use His word to change their lives, but this time they would do it together believing that adding accountability through community would make the difference.  And it has certainly made the difference for me.

So, everyday on the site or on your mobile device, Nook or Kindle–where you can engage through YouVersion if you have the bible app, the ladies pull out verses according to whatever reading plan their engaging at the moment and offer a short commentary/devotional on those verses.  Those of us who read the verses are encouraged to read the word, pray over it, think about it, then respond to it–either by tweeting it, blogging it, writing in a private journal, taking a pic and posting it on Instagram, or sharing in the comments, but always by our actions.  It’s been a really great experience for me and I wanted to share with you thinking that you might enjoy it as well. Right now we have about 2 days left on the current plan, the Ephesians plan.  I figured I’d let you in on my little secret now so that you could prepare to join us for the next plan!  Let me know if you decide to join me!

Huni on a Thursday Night

Huni leads a group of men in study of the word on Thursday nights.  It’s been like a mystery to me.  He goes off to the study once I have already left to meet with a certain teen girl.  He comes back much later than I, usually.  But when he comes back, he beams.  He glows.  He’s so humbled that the Lord would choose Him as a lens through which others can see His light reflected more clearly.  He’s so excited about the revelations that ride into the room and rest there on their hearts and minds.  He’s so determined to study harder next week so that God can do more, show more, give more through him.

Tonight was different.  Our timing was all off and rushed and compromised so I needed to drop him off instead of our usual divide and conquer routine.  We pulled up with five minutes to spare and one brother was already there.  Ready.  Patiently waiting.  Huni discovered that he had no keys to get in so we had to jam to the house and get the keys.  We came back and there they were, waiting around the door, dappin’ each other up, laughing.  Joy, expectation and excitement were all present there with them on the sidewalk as they waited to get into the building to meet with God.  I could tell that Huni was so excited.  He was distracted by it all and he too just couldn’t wait to get in there and get it going.  I watched him as he made his way across the street carrying pizza, wings and the word.  I watched them as he approached.  I got so excited at the sight.  I can’t imagine how our Father must have felt.

I don’t know what all happens in that room.  I just know that lives are being changed.  Huni is being changed.  Iron is being sharpened.  God is being glorified.  Our brothers are getting stronger.  And because of that, our world is getting better.  God is just too good.