The Show

photo (10)

“Character refers to who you are.  Reputation refers to who people think you are.”

~Emily P. Freeman

So often we move and act, aware of the eyes that seek us out  . . . convinced that the eyes are ever present . . . “Girl, somebody is always watching . . . .”  We overact or prepare to perform without even knowing for sure if the audience is present and attentive.  This hyper awareness has the potential to have us spending money that we don’t have to impress people we don’t know.  It can have us posting to blogs and social media sites our every move, especially the really triumphant ones, executive producers of commercials and vignettes about the great lives we live.  So often this awareness makes us sensitive to the people we encounter daily, devoted family and adoring friends but it mutes and blurries the sovereign God and the conviction of His Holy Spirit.  The presence of people, our busy world, its persistent distractions–both beautiful and destructive–have a way of confusing what’s most important and therefore making us actors on the world’s stage.  At the end of the week, we look back and wonder at some of our decisions . . . or we fight our way through the week, each day a struggle like Rocky Balboa pulling that huge, heavy truck uphill, knee deep in snow, because the temptation brought on by the curtain call beckons us daily, and to keep focus, to keep true is harder than we realize.  Those of us who are most caught up in the performance have made it to Broadway.   People expect a version of ourselves that is not true.  They can calculate what we’ll do next and they know where to expect us.  Not because we are so predictable as much as it is because we have done such a good job at showing ourselves, making ourselves known.  At the end of a life, these people look back and wonder, “What was it all for?  Where has it all gone?”  Being careful to develop your character according to the Father by the instructions given in His word can produce similar results (as it pertains to a sort of predictability), but the actions are Christ-driven, the purpose is Christ-centered and reward is so much greater.  Living character-conscious takes care of reputation.  You don’t have to throw yourself in front of the spotlight . . .somehow it finds its way to you, like gravity . . . like the wind, they obey their laws and everything else flows naturally to its sway.

I received an Emmy for my role in the show.  Actually, I have a wall full.  No condemnation if you were my co-star.  Let’s pray for each other today, that we would look to the Master Director for our roles and lines.  Love and grace, Frans. xxoo

Advertisements

Replacing Sunday Mornings

empty-church

Strolling through the articles of one of my favorite sites I found this title–“Replacing Sunday Mornings.”  I was intrigued and the article left me spinning, thinking.  It’s essentially about the millennials, people born between 1981-2000, of whom about 60% have stepped away from the Christian church at some point during their faith journey.  I am a millennial but I did not trek with them in their great migration away from the church.  I have some friends who have, though they may not communicate it as simply.

The article was beautifully written and strikingly thoughtful.  Its relevance rang loudly in my ears, resounding a familiar heartbeat of confusion and angst when it comes to church experiences.  Huni and I have moved away from our local church as we have relocated for full time ministry.  We struggle now to find a local body in our new location that meets our needs.  Through the pain and loneliness of this period I link arms with the millennials and can see through their eyes and reason with their mind as to why one would leave the Christian church in search for something real, something true . . . community, truthful & graceful shepherding, Christ.

I know that so many people have had some really bad and hurtful experiences in the Christian church.  Some people have suffered there or just been disappointed as their needs have not been met.  This is real.  But the thing is, it is not a true, full love that loves Christ yet does not love His bride.  If you have relationship with Christ but not His church, your relationship with Christ is incomplete.  I believe that Christ was not so much referring to a beautifully built building with doors perpetually flung open on well oiled hinges, stained glass windows and a steeple when He talked about “the church” as much as He was talking about the collective body of believers in Jesus Christ–the church, but our Sunday morning and midweek gatherings are an organized entity of the body that we call “the church” and it is real, relevant and important to Him.

I am in a season where, if I lived in a cooler city with more to do, the temptation to replace my Sunday morning would be REAL and I’d have to prepare myself through prayer starting Friday night, not to give in to the temptation to ditch that Sunday morning time in a worship space with other believers.  But I press and Huni and I keep searching.  And I believe that God cares about our faith journey and will lead us to someplace where our needs can be met and we can participate in meeting the needs of others.  So I think you should read this article.  If you are in a similar place, let’s pray for one another.  God desires that we get back and trust Him to take care of us in those spaces.

What about you?  Are you in a good space right now as it concerns your Sunday morning with a local body?  Are you searching or have you left? Praying for all of us, no matter where we are.  Praise God for His grace.

xoxo

Photo Credit

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

The Accidental Sabbatical

sabbatical

I haven’t published a word since April.  (gasps . . .  womp)  And I didn’t even plan to take a break from blogging! (crazy eyes, collapses to head in hand . . . smh) Thanks to God’s sweet grace, and a few inquisitive readers, I’ve found my way back to the qwerty keys and I’m ready to rock! (BIG grin, rubs hands together)  I hope to fair better this time around with a few tricks I’ve learned about being a successful blogger.  I appreciate the patience, kindness and encouragement I’ve found in some of the readers who frequent this little den in cyberspace.  As long as I am able to fulfill this calling, I will write.  I sincerely hope you’ll stay around and continue to journey with me.

#can’tstopwon’tstop (does a P.Diddy ditty and finishes with a spin, suit jacket blowing in the wind)

welcome back!!!!

(wink)

Photo Credit:  http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-sabbatical.html

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

Gracefully Accepting Higher

gracefully accepting higher

I read this post by Stephanie Bryant in December and it was brilliant.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Huni and I recently moved back to his hometown to do full time ministry.  I was hesitant and excited about the move but once we got there I wanted everything around me to rise to our new normal.  I knew that things were going to be different but I wanted to hurry up and discover the differences so that I could contain them, normalize them . . .control them.  Uggggh!  Why oh why do we do this to ourselves?  New marriage, new job, new home, relocation, new baby, new friend . . .whenever there is a change, we look for a new normal and what I have discovered in my recent experience is that, with God, there is no such thing.

You see, God is always calling us higher.  Even when we’re in a season that makes us feel low to the ground, He is calling us higher because He is calling us to reflect Christ.   (Romans 8:28-29)

We’ve been living in our new town for about 8 months and it wasn’t until this week that I really starting getting into my groove and not feeling like a complete nutcase, chasing my tail in a 3 diameter circle going 75 mph.  I have learned, the hard way, that we have to give ourselves the grace of time to allow a change to morph into whatever it is going to become.  And we have to divorce the world’s notion of the new normal.  If the Lord answers our prayers and calls us to something immeasurably more than we can ask, think or imagine, why would we want to relegate it to what is considered to be normal?  

Here is merely a glimpse of the reality that we are called to everyday:

“so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”  ~Philippians 2:15 NIV

“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”  ~Daniel 12:3 ESV

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ~1 Peter 2:9 ESV

Oh that we would learn to live comfortably in His marvelous light instead of the dull comfort that our yearning for normal yields.

We are not called to look longingly out of the window in search of what was good in our yesterdays.  So many times in His word, God likens us to stars!  Reminder: No two stars are alike (every star is unique).  Stars get their light from the sun (they are fueled, daily, by the most powerful source of light).  Their brilliant light shines forth from more than a billion miles away, yet their light reaches us and lights up the sky each night (they are potent, consistent and highly effective).

So, it’s been eight months and I’m just now beginning to get settled in . . .day by day and moment by moment I am going to continue to ease into this season of my life and instead of looking for the myth of the “new normal” I’m looking for each moment presented to me to shine like the star I have been called to be.

Oh, but there’s more!

“That’s the only reason why I’m a Christian,” she said, “So that I don’t go to hell.”

My heart sank just a little bit after hearing her words.  But it wasn’t weighed down by judgement.  No, my heart sank as I thought, That’s all you think there is to this?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I know that being saved from hell is a very, very good thing.  It’s a real thing.  It’s an eternal thing and it’s a logical beginning of salvation for many people.  Some are frightened by it and come running into the arms of Jesus out of fear of the unknown, fear of this horrid hell that imaginations have painted red and the bible has described as a lake of fire.  And although many people shun coming to the Lord out of fear, I stand alongside Paul who accepted the preaching of Christ no matter what people’s motives were, so long as the gospel was preached, and I say, come to Him, ALL of us no matter our motives, so long as we come because once we come, truly come, He changes everything.

But I still found myself moving out of her vision with brow furrowed, mouth agape, head cocked slightly to the left and mind bewildered at how she could have missed that we were saved for more.  That He saved us not just from hell, but to be in relationship with us, to show us His love and have us recognize it and revel in it once we realized it . . . to give us power to live beyond ourselves . . .to do the supernatural . . .to make us worthy of having His spirit placed inside of us . . .to show love to others, even the most unlovable so that they too would come to know Him . . .to see His goodness in the land of the living . . .to have joy, unspeakable joy, in the midst of trying times . . .to have peace that surpasses understanding . . .to know that we have a savior who came to bind up broken hearts, heal the sick, make whole the broken . . .to live with purpose and intention, no days on earth wasted . . .to have hope . . .

. . .and then it dawned on me . . . that’s why I moved here–to be an example of this very thing.

See, I know that people are speculating, what’s the real story? who in their right mind would move from there to here?  I bet they ran up on hard times and just needed to move back home for a while.  hey, it happens to the best of us. . .   But there are no secrets.  We really did change everything and give up everything to come and be salt and light.  We came for moments just like these– to live among people and show them the more that God is calling us to.  To wrap our arms, minds and hearts around the harvest of souls waiting for a glimpse of recognition from the Father.  Yes, He sees you.  Yes, He wants you.  He stands at the door and knocks and it would serve us well to answer.  Answer because you are afraid of what’s behind the other door.  Answer because you are afraid not to answer at all.  Answer because you want Him and what He has to offer. Answer because you’ve answered everything and everyone else and you’ve been sadly disappointed every time.  Whatever the reason–Just don’t miss out on your opportunity to answer.  And when you do, I pray that I’ll be ready to be used, should He choose to use me, to demonstrate that being saved from hell is just beginning.

6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (John 10:6-10 The Message)

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)

Marriage Letters: On Transition

Huni, Huni, HUNI!!!

Transition?  Huh!  It’s the story of our lives, right?!?!  We’ve been transitioning since the moment we decided to change almost everything and move our family farther away from our will for our lives and closer to His.  Every conversation had, every decision made, every box packed, every box unpacked, each tear of joy and sorrow, each goodbye and each hello, all have been another part of our transition story.  It’s been bittersweet, but it’s been a journey that both of us are so moved by, daily.

Ironically, I think that’s what has made this transition hardest for me– the “dailyness” of it all.  I haven’t began to feel yet like the transition is over.  Cool thing that happened today was that I started to feel some of my motives changing and, as a result, I gained a bit of new strength accompanied by some new brain juice to fight with.  That was really cool, really, sweet and really, very needed.  For as much as as we can realize that in the center of His will is the safest place, and for as much as we encourage each other on to great works, I am searching for level ground.  I am looking for the waves to rest and the boat to stop rocking with such a rowdy sway.  I don’t know all of what God is trying to do in us, but I do know that He is trying to make us stronger and more effective.

In the meantime, I have needed you and I have needed for our connection to be strong, steady, comforting, joyful.  I have needed you to be a place of comfort and consistency among all of the change.  Thinking about what I need and alllllll of the conversations we’ve had in efforts to make this transition smoother makes me think about what we’ve learned in this process.  Well, what have we learned, Huni?  If the Lord were to send us another couple that was transitioning in anyway, what would our testimony be at this point?  What would we tell them?  How would we encourage them?  Let’s not waste this opportunity.  transition and its tremors are often the demise of many unions.  Let’s begin to get this figured out.  I have a feeling that searching through it and getting an understanding of ourselves in this season will yield fruit not only for others transitioning, but for us.  Right now.  This sounds like a date night conversation!!!  no?  ok, lemme know!!  I love me some you!!!!!

pamela t.

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.