Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Life is like a box of chocolates. We’ve all heard that saying but what does it even mean?  I like boxes of chocolates. Knowing that someone thought of me and gave me something which brings me joy means so much. Opening the box with anticipation I study each piece trying to discern which is the best. I then carefully choose the first piece and savor every last chew and every last flavor. Sometimes I pick a piece that I really enjoy. The raspberry cream filled ones are my favorite. Sometimes I pick a piece that I wish I could just swallow whole (because even bad chocolate is still chocolate!). Never mind about the reference guide that tells me exactly what piece is what flavor. Who looks at that sheet before digging in anyways?  The anticipation and the guessing is the best! Until it isn’t. 

Life is the same. We have the reference guide (the Bible) but we don’t always use it. We make choices and sometimes like the consequences (the raspberry cream filled ones) and sometimes don’t (the gross ones we want to spit out). Once we make our choice we endure the consequence, for better or for worse. But regardless the flavor, it’s all still chocolate, and they are all from the same box. God lovingly gave us our box (created our life), he created the different flavors (choices), he rejoices with us in the yummy flavors and weeps with us through the gross ones. 

God is always present, always loving, and always wants the best for us. Use his reference guide to find the best flavors. 

James 1:22 – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Ephesians 5:15-17 – Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise by as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Psalm 33:4 – For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

 

Pray? Not it!!!

Oh my goodness, prayer can be so overwhelming! I so understand the feeling of wanting to crawl under the table in fear of someone calling on me to pray in front of people!! For years I avoided eye contact, shifted in my seat, dug in my purse, flipped through my bible, anything and everything to avoid being called on to pray publicly. Everyone else who prayed sounded so beautiful. They used so many big church words and sounded not only like they knew what they were talking about but also felt what they were talking about.  It was intimidating. I wasn’t like them at all. 

Hear me now, here is a guide on how to saying those beautiful eloquent prayers. Say goodbye to the old seat shifting eye avoiding you!

First you are you and I am me. I’m a mess and I pray like a mess. God made us exactly as he wanted us. And he knows us. 

Second, when we pray we are talking to our best friend. If you talk to your friends like “hey yo, what up wit ya” then that’s how you talk to God. He understands slang and vernacular. I mean, this is the God who made the languages at the Tower of Babel for goodness sake. 

Third you give God the glory and adoration. You say something like “God. You are ruler of everything. I submit myself to you.”  

Next you confess. “God, I’m sorry I stole the vase from my moms kitchen. Please forgive me.” Or it could be something like “God, I don’t even know where to start on my sins. You know those that are in my heart. Please reveal to me those that are not apparent in my daily walk.” 

Fifth, thank God for all of the amazing things he has done. Especially prayers answered (even those that are answered with a No)! 

Finally, pray for your needs and the needs of others. 

Make yourself a cheat sheet with the steps above (not the words, those need to be your own!!) and tuck it in your bible. The next time you have the opportunity to pray publicly to God, the creator of the universe, you take it (maybe even volunteer) and you pray your heart out proudly!

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Matthew 6:7 – And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Psalm 17:6 – I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Luke 11:2-4 – He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation.”

Ephesians 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.  

 

Stop and Wait

Todays agenda was stacked and scheduled all nice and perfect. Triple tasking at all times because I’m neurotic (God is still working on me!!). I had a meeting outside the office so I also scheduled someone to meet me there and hand off some work stuff (multitasking), then scheduled a back to back meeting (triple tasking) at the same location to reduce the amount of driving.  No gaps in between the three because everything was going to fall perfectly into place of course. Until it didn’t. My perfect start to the day (which included the miracle of being on time for once in my life) quickly deteriorated. The person who was supposed to drop by to do the handoff didn’t show. The back to back meeting didn’t show, wasn’t answering their phone and then 10 minutes after the start time said they couldn’t make it. Nothing was working out according to my perfect plan. 

And then it happened. I had to stop. And wait. Neither of which I’m good at. I didn’t have a good attitude about it. 

As I sat there trying to tell myself “Look for the good in this”, “God is always at work”, “Look for God working in this moment”, “Who does God want me to minister to right now”, it hit me that he was already working and had already answered my question. It wasn’t about me reaching someone in that moment but rather God reaching ME in that moment. In a way only God can do, he had me stop to focus not on the task of life and the task of ministry, but Him in life and Him in ministry. Funny how I was looking to minister to others and I wound up being ministered to myself. 

Do you have some stop and wait that needs to happen today? Are you missing God in the tasks of today? Stop. And wait. 

Psalm 27:14 – Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord

Psalm 25:5 – Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day.

Psalm 130:5 – I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.

James 5:7-8 – Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.  The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.  You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Psalm 33:20 – Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

 

Just As I Am

How would you describe yourself?  Kind?  Caring?  Compassionate?  Empathetic?  Generous?  I think if I had to describe myself I would say: messy, caring, honest, encouraging and giving of grace.  Perfect definitely doesn’t make it on my list.  

What about worthy?  Did worthy make your list of attributes?  

It’s hard to reconcile that we are worthy of God’s love and mercy and grace and joy when we feel so less than perfect.  How is someone as messy as me also worthy?  As a Christian when God looks at me all he sees is perfection.  He sees me as white as snow because all of my sins, past, present and future, have already been paid for by the blood of Jesus.  He sees me as worthy, he sees me as enough, just as I am.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 Corinthians 6:11 – And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Ephesians 4:1 – I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling in which you have been called.

2 Corinthians 3:5 – Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.

 

Separation Anxiety

Livi had a school project where you make a car out of cardboard boxes and the kids “drive” their cars all around school.  It was the cutest thing ever and her school did a fantastic job with the event.  They had a pretend car wash, gas station, car races and Livi’s favorite: the mechanic shop.  It was precious seeing her underneath this cardboard car intently hammering, screwing and who knows what else, underneath.  To top the festivities off they had a drive in movie theater complete with popcorn!  It was an incredible event for the kids.  

The creation of the car was a whole other story.  Livi settled her mind on a Rainbow Dash Batmobile.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Only Livi could come up with such a thing, and praise God for Pintrest ideas that helped make her dream a reality.  I spent well over 40 hours in making this car so that she could use it all of 30 minutes.  Total side note, different story for a different day, but God taught me so much about myself and my sin through the creation of this car!

The car has been sitting in the garage for weeks.  No one has touched it since the event.  Livi told me today that she was okay with it being thrown away.  I’ve been ready since 2am the night before the event while I was trying to finish the darn thing!  The car is a reminder of my sin of wanting recognition for myself and not for giving God the glory of his creation through me.  I am tired of looking at it every day and seeing nothing but ugliness in myself.  

So out to the curb it went.  And so did Livi.  No tears, just mournful hugging of the car, ready to see it go yet not so ready.  Our sin nature is the same.  We are soooo ready to get rid of our sin, so ready to get rid of the hurt it causes, yet not really wanting to let the pleasure of the sin go.  What sin are you holding on to today?  What sin have you taken to the curb yet are not quite letting go of?  I challenge you today, walk away.  Walk away, don’t look back, run if you have to.  God will be faithful to carry you through the separation anxiety.

* Side note, I love the ray of light shining down on Livi in this picture.  It’s like God is shining down comforting her.  God is there to comfort you too, all the time in all ways.  

Proverbs 4:25 – Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

Psalm 62:8 – Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.

Matthew  11:28 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

Trash Upon Trash

Holiday weekends are such a delight.  We are able to breathe, relax and just be for a few days.  It’s so refreshing.  The kids ride their bikes up and down the street playing with friends.  Once they are sufficiently hot and sweaty they jump in the pool.  Fully clothed.  They also make a mess of everything.  Bikes strewn everywhere, board games and their pieces up and down the hallway just begging to be stepped on in the middle of the night (legos are the worst though!), and I seriously have never taken out more bags of trash.  Where in the world does all that trash come from!?  It appears and multiplies!

Our lives can be the same, trash upon trash just waiting to be taken out.  I can’t even begin tell you the amount of mess in my life (past and present).  I don’t take out the trash near often enough.  When you take out the trash you lay your hurts, your poor choices, your pain, all of it, at the feet of Jesus.  You lay it out and give it to him.  Then He loves you, and your trash is gone.  If you’ve never taken out the trash, or haven’t done it lately, I challenge you to let it out.  Lay it at the feet of Jesus then sit back and enjoy the freedom it brings.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

1 Peter 1:13 – Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

Clouds

Holiday weekends are such a delight.  We are able to breathe, relax and just be for a few days.  It’s so refreshing.  The kids ride their bikes up and down the street playing with friends.  Once they are sufficiently hot and sweaty they jump in the pool.  Fully clothed.  They also make a mess of everything.  Bikes strewn everywhere, board games and their pieces up and down the hallway just begging to be stepped on in the middle of the night (legos are the worst though!), and I seriously have never taken out more bags of trash.  Where in the world does all that trash come from!?  It appears and multiplies!

Our lives can be the same, trash upon trash just waiting to be taken out.  I can’t even begin tell you the amount of mess in my life (past and present).  I don’t take out the trash near often enough.  When you take out the trash you lay your hurts, your poor choices, your pain, all of it, at the feet of Jesus.  You lay it out and give it to him.  Then He loves you, and your trash is gone.  If you’ve never taken out the trash, or haven’t done it lately, I challenge you to let it out.  Lay it at the feet of Jesus then sit back and enjoy the freedom it brings.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

1 Peter 1:13 – Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.