Saturday Night Contemplations

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I think we are most self conscious when we are acutely others conscious. . .

Don’t punish self for crimes committed by others.

Awkward stares, rudeness, insensitive comments, misunderstandings, heartbreaks. . .

Even though you have good reason to, don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Take heart. 
Our world is incomplete partly because we have so many impersonators and not nearly enough originals.

We need you.

The real you.

Then it occurred to me, many of us have spent so much time and energy trying to be something we’re not, or running from who we don’t want to become or trying to maintain an image or trying not to come off as weird … that we really don’t know who we are.  Some may try to shame you for this.  I say, congratulations. They say when you know better, you do better and now that you know, you have approached the passageway to a beautiful place called self discovery. It can be a lonely city; the names on the mailboxes of most of its citizens are Incognito and Inconspicuous.  Few people are willing to admit that as self assured and confident as they appear, it’s only a charade.

But it’s ok.

 Journey through your own adventure of self discovery. Take God with you. You’ll be a wilderness child spending unnecessary time going in circles if you choose to go without Him.  And as with everything I post here, this one is hitting home.  You won’t be alone. We’ll be neighbors.

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The Show

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“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

Replacing Sunday Mornings

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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

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Gracefully Accepting Higher

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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.

Pondering the Gospel

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I had a friend describe a situation that she was in a short time ago where she chose to divulge to a large group of women some of the things that she was struggling with at the time.  It had much to do with singleness and likely most of the women in the audience could relate, whether they wanted to admit it or not.  The list was less than pretty.  The details, though vague, were of a very personal nature because, in order to tell the truth, she had to expose parts of her person that those not close to her might not otherwise know.  But she poured herself out thin, viscous, and abundant in front of the women anyway.  After the session was done, quite a few women came up to her and asked her, “How did you do that?  How were you able to just tell your business like that?  I can’t believe you just shared all of that with everyone.”  My friend responded with a couple Christ pointed sentences to explain where her “courage” came from but then she ended with the most intriguing response of all.  She said, “I really believe that the gospel is enough.”

I’ve been thinking of my friend’s final response and I’m just really taken by it.

Well, what is the gospel?  According to John Piper, “the gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the righteous one, died for our sins, rose again eternally triumphant over all His enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe but only everlasting joy.

So, essentially, my friend was saying that because Christ, the righteous one, who is eternally triumphant and gives no condemnation but everlasting joy to all who believe, died for her sins, she can struggle in the light. . . with NO shame nor embarrassment . . . and receive strength to overcome the evil one and live victoriously today and everyday. . . and by so doing, invite others to do the same.

yeaaaaaaaaa . . . . my head is spinning too . . . .

Wednesdays with Beth: Taking Your Treasure Back pts. 1 & 2

Frans!!!  It’s been too long!  And I have missed sharing with you in this space.  It’s been encouraging to hear from you, encouraging me by sharing that you’ve missed the posts.  Totally unexpected.  Totally sweet.  I’m so totally grateful and so totally humbled.  I have so much to share and share I will, but for now, I want to get us caught up on the latest installments of Beth Moore’s newest series on Life Today called Taking Your Treasure Back. Here’s part one and part two.   Enjoy!!

Wednesdays with Beth: The Calling pt. 2

I’m often reminded of Esther when I think about God’s providence and His call on our lives.  I recently finished Beth Moore’s study on Esther and it was just . . . rich!!  Seriously rich and inspiring in personal life application, seeing God’s providence in my own life and moving into His call on my life.  So, I am enjoying hearing her perspective in this format on God’s call and adding to my level of wisdom as I move forward.

Last Wednesday, August 1, Life Today aired part two of Beth Moore’s speaking series on the call of God on our lives.  This week we get a chance to catch up, in case we missed it, and see that same video again.  You can view it here .  And if you missed the first video check it out here.

Enjoy!!

Assured

Today I went to visit an old Fran from college.  Kim Morrisette is not just any old Fran.  She’s the woman that God used to water and point toward the Son, the seeds that my mama had sewn into me, raising me in Christ Jesus, knowing Him as my Lord and savior.  I was so broken, so sad and yet I was searching for something big and deep and real and although I was confused about many things, I knew that what I needed and wanted was only going to be satisfied by God.  So Kim led me and a group of girls in our dorm, Greene Hall, through bible study.  Our friendship deepened and she went on to disciple me and train me to do the same thing for other women on campus.  She poured into me and facilitated further training with my roomie and me as we helped to lead a new, small campus ministry.

I didn’t get to spend a very long time with her– I teased her about living out in John’s barnyard (she lives quite a distance from me in a beautiful farmhouse “out in the sticks”) and that took a bit of our time away because good ole me left a little later than I intended and then I made it all the way to her street and got lost–but the time I was able to just be around her and meet her children and see her face and see what her life is like now, was so good.  I missed Kim and I am so glad that during this season of my life, the Lord is making a way for us to connect again.

Within the past week I’ve been in close connection with people who have lost loved ones.  Some have been traumatic and the other quiet but all have been hard and sad.  I almost feel like times are very uncertain right now; you can’t know if the last time you see someone will be the last time. . . how much will change with people between now and the next time you see them, if you are so fortunate to see them again?  So much fear and uncertainty.  And although it’s reasonable for me to feel and think this way, it’s not the way of truth.  It’s not Philippians 4:8-9 and it won’t draw me closer to my savior, it’ll just keep me questioning Him, and doubting Him.  

I enjoyed spending time with Kim so much today because it was a reminder for me that there have been other times when I thought that God had left me, forgotten about me, wasn’t working on my behalf, didn’t have a plan for my life except to repeat what had been done in my family generations past or just plain old didn’t care.  But Kim came to me at the most crucial time in my undergraduate career.  I was on the brink of utter hopelessness and I needed to know that all that mama taught me about God was real and that there was more.  As I look back to then and see what my life is now, in those times when I felt so shaky and uncovered, God, in fact, did have a plan and He was working it out for my good, even when I didn’t always sense it.  Seeing Kim was such a sweet reminder of His grace.  God is so good.  In times of tragedy, pain, sorrow, loss and confusion it’s good to have a blessed assurance– that firm, sure, sweet reminder that He is in control, He knows what He’s doing, His word is still true, He is trustworthy, He’s got me and my whole world in the palm of His hands.  I am safe there.

I’m sure that there is someone out there reading this who just needs a reminder that He is good and that He is a loving Father.  Please, be of good service to yourself and think about your life–what it was, what it is, and what it could be.  He’s there.  And He’s been there the whole time.  If your waters are smooth right now or if they are rough, this is a good time to know the God you serve and His characteristics.  Do yourself a favor.  Remind yourself of all that He’s done.  And rest.  Assured.

Wednesdays with Beth: Filled to the Measure

It’s Wednesday so that means we get to tune in to Life Today and hear what the Lord is speaking to us through Mrs. Beth Moore.  If you watch the program regularly and have done so for a time, you may have already seen this one before.  I have seen this one and the story she tells in it has been referenced by others who have seen it.  But this video still came right on time for me.

God’s sovereignty and providence is sure.

I had an experience just last week that just seemed so weird but, in the moment, I was so sure that I was being prompted by the Holy Spirit to be obedient to the things He was speaking to my heart.  I wrestled with myself and the personal cost of my obedience all the way up until Monday for sure and then finally, I just decided to let it go and trust God to confirm for me if I had indeed heard Him or if I was just a loon.  And with just the seed planted in my mind that I had misheard and was wrong, acting crazy and unable to hear from the Lord, satan had a field day and really put in work to discourage me.  But God is so faithful, Frans!!!  I know that I have some readers who are not Christian and to them all of this talk compels them to think, “No ma’am, you actually are quite loony.”  But something happens when we engage God through His holy spirit, allow His words to abide in us and we respond to the call. . .   We get to participate in the divine.

Check this out:  http://lifetoday.org/video/filled-to-the-measure-3

Been worshiping to this song since we sang it during church service on Sunday.  One of my faves from Hillsong.  Hope it blesses you.

Five Minute Friday: Risk

I’m joining The Gypsy Mama over at lisajobaker.com for Five Minute Friday today, where Lisa-Jo invites bloggers to “write for five minutes without worrying about getting it right.”  That’s right.  I had five minutes to write about a topic she pre-selects, today it was “risk,” without over thinking, spell checking, correcting, re-reading, all of that stuff.  yikes.  So, I had up one post and I followed all the rules as I wrote it but then  I had another thought so I scrapped the first, set my timer and wrote the post below.   Here’s my first attempt, which turned out to be more like ten minute Friday since I scrapped the first try.  :0/  Mercy, Frans.  :0)  Check out the post and then hop over to the site and see how some of the other bloggers are pondering and writing about risk.

START

We all knew that it was a healing service.  And we had been told just the day before that we needed to “get our faith up” because if we wanted to see God do anything miraculous, it would require our faith, for His word does indeed say that without faith it is impossible to please God.

As I sat in my seat, I could only imagine what were the needs of the people gathered there around me.  I knew that I was coming searching for healing for the broken places in my mind and in my heart but what were the other needs?  Was there a lame man who would dare to trust God to give his legs back their mobility, right there for all of us to see?  Was there a blind man?  A bleeding woman?  What would we see that night?  Who would dare take the risk to trust Him?  And is there really any risk when you are dealing with the things of the divine?

To my surprise, there were many.  And yes, there was a man who was was not lame but he had a crippled walk.  All throughout the service, I heard him and I watched Him.  Sitting there, in his wheelchair, he worked to get his faith up.  He came for something that night and the risk of going back home with it cost more than giving his whole self to God.  Frans, he got up out of that chair, and out loud he called the devil a liar.  And he walked across the floor.  And He stared risk right in the face and said, “Lord, I trust you.  Make me to walk.”

STOP