3.27.2017

The Last Shall Be Light


Today I am writing to the rejected. To the ones scarred by the words of others. The ones who sit in silence way too often and feel lost in the shuffle. Those who look different from everyone else in the room. To the ones picked last.

I see you.

But even more importantly, God sees you. He understands your pain because he walked in your shoes, rejected by a world that had no valid accusation against him.

Isaiah 53:3 describes Jesus as being "...despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief..."

The One sent to redeem the world was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief. He was more than just rejected; he was despised. Oh precious forgotten one, if ever you've been understood, it's by Him. 

I have no doubt that God has big plans for you. Because of the rejection you have so often felt, you are more keenly aware of those who walk down the same lonely path you do. Your eyes are well-trained to see the pain lying just underneath the surface of other people's eyes. You are able to see those whom no one else seems to. Pay close attention to your ability to observe such things.

The scriptures are full of reminders that God does big things with those rejected by the world, but my new favorite verse out of them all is Psalm 118:22:

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone."

How's that for vindication? He was and is the biggest, most important, strongest and most essential element of our lives. The world may have cast him aside, but Jesus pursued and completed his God-given mission anyway. He fearlessly trusted His Father and kept his eyes on Him, changing the lives of everyone willing to look upon his face and accept his offer of eternal friendship. If he had allowed the world's opinion of him to dictate his actions, his mission would have been squashed, thus rendering all of humanity hopeless forever.

Likewise, it is important for us to remember that the world's opinion of us bears no weight on our value. We are valuable because God made us with care (Psalm 139:13-14); He chose us (John 15:16); and He calls us Beloved (Col. 3:12).

To reinforce this truth even further, allow me to remind you of Zephaniah 3:17:

"...He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

You. Are. Adored.

You are treasured. You are sought after. Your company is desired. You are valued, beautiful, and seen. You are rejoiced over with songs. 

If you have a hard time believing these truths apply to you, ask God to speak straight to your heart and make them real to you. I believe there's nothing He wants more than for you to understand how vastly He loves you.

The greater we understand His love, the less validation we need from those around us. The less validation we need from others, the more confident we become in being a light. The more of a light we are to the world, the less others have to feel alone.

We, the rejected, can be the brightest beacons of light the world has ever seen if we allow God to heal the dark, unseen, and hurting places in our hearts with His redeeming grace. Through Him, we can love the unloved; we can see the unseen.


>> published on bravegirlcommunity.com <<

1.23.2017

You CAN Sit With Us


Have you ever seen those cheeky graphic tees with the phrase "You Can't Sit With Us" plastered boldly across the chest? Personally, the cute factor of such an isolating phrase is lost on me, but maybe I'm still working through some residual pain of being that middle-school-aged girl who truly was uninvited.

I'm thankful my Savior would never say that to me. In fact, if Jesus had worn graphic tees back in his earth-inhabiting days, I'm sure His would have said, "You CAN sit with us." And the invitation would have been real and all-inclusive. That's just how Jesus lived his life; he made a pointed effort to notice the unnoticed and call the unworthy to do big things with their lives.

Romans 5:11 says that because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we have been made "Friends of God."

You guys, we're in. We're worthy. Not because of anything we can do but because of everything Jesus did. I'm blown away by this title: Friend of God. My natural inclination is to question my place in Jesus' group, to feel I haven't earned my spot, or worry Jesus might notice I've crept into his circle and decide to cast me out.

But Jesus will never do that to you or me. He's the best friend we could ever have.

And because we have been eternally accepted by Him, our lives become part of something so much bigger than anything we could ever accomplish on our own:

Romans 5:2:
"Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of UNDESERVED PRIVILEGE where we now stand, and we CONFIDENTLY and JOYFULLY look forward to sharing God's glory."
[emphasis added]

Being a friend of Jesus means so much more than just getting a front-row seat to all the incredible ways Jesus works and touches lives; it means that sometimes we get called onstage to play a significant part. We get to participate right alongside Jesus in getting our hands dirty and changing the world. As members of his crew, we have a purpose, and are delegated unique tasks by Him that only we can accomplish.

There is no one in this world that God can't use or doesn't want to use. There is not a person in this world that God doesn't desire a close friendship with. So if you're wondering where your place is, go ahead and approach Him with the confidence that you have already been called, and there's a seat saved for you.

Put yourself back in the cafeteria of middle school. Timid, and clutching your tray, you quickly scan the room for an empty seat near someone who desires your presence. To your surprise, instead of multiple tables scattered across the room, each surrounded by various cliques, there is just one large table. Everyone's favorite friend is seated at the head, and one empty chair is open next to Him. You make eye contact, and all your anxieties wash away. He smiles with radiant joy at the sight of you and waves you over to the empty chair right next to Him. His friends turn to see whom the object of His excitement is, and upon realizing it's you, excitedly join Him in welcoming you over.

He stands with sincerity as you approach, looks you in the eye, and says, "You can sit with us. You are wanted here."

>>published on bravegirlcommunity.com<<

12.28.2016

11.10.2016

The Giant


God's calling. How many of us have heard it clearly, know exactly what we are being beckoned to do, but still stand paralyzed in the thick, immobilizing quicksand of self-doubt and uncertainty? God's calling can feel like a giant that we are compelled to and captivated by, yet at the same time, utterly terrified to approach. 

If only we had the confidence David had when he approached Goliath. Though small and ill-equipped for victory according to the world's opinion, David didn't falter. His feet walked towards the impending battle with confidence. His hands skillfully placed the stone in the sling, and with unfaltering confidence in what God had called him to do, he carried out the task and conquered the giant. 

David was small but bold. He was human but empowered by the Holy Spirit. An unworthy man was called, and his obedience made all the difference.

He didn't question his ability to succeed based on his physical stature, vocation, or social status. He didn't listen to the discouraging voices around him that said he wasn't good enough for such a battle. Nor did he accept the help of what the world told him he would need in order to have any hope of succeeding. When they said he'd need heavy armor to survive, David chose instead to go only equipped with the talent and skill God had created him to be specifically confident in: his shepherd's staff and sling.

David was just a shepherd who said yes to God. And because he did, his story was written down in history as one to inspire believers such as ourselves that through God, all things are possible.

What if David had disqualified himself from God's calling on his life because he was "only a shepherd?"

What are you being called to do that you feel utterly unworthy to carry out?

What child might never experience a loving home if you never listen to that still, small voice calling you to foster or adopt? What co-worker might never hear of the saving love of Jesus if you never accept that job in the field you feel called to even though it won't pay enough for you to keep living with the same level of materialistic comfort? Who will never know they're worthy if you never tell them? Who will fall between the cracks of society if you never step out of your comfort zone to reach them?

Time is short and precious, and the stakes are high. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, "Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest."

The time is now. Step out and go boldly towards God's calling on your life. Not because you are able, but because He is.



>> published on bravegirlcommunity.com <<


10.10.2016

Be Still and Know


This weekend I got away with a girlfriend to a cabin on the lake, and it was a refreshing time for my soul. We did some leisurely shopping and ate a lot of yummy, bad-for-us food. It was all wonderful, but my favorite part of the whole trip was the time we spent resting. We threw on sweatshirts and enjoyed a slow morning on the deck, sipping our coffee while nestled under a quilt. We marathon watched HGTV and colored in adult coloring books. We were intentional about not being busy, and we didn’t feel guilty about it.

It got me thinking about the value of resting in the midst of a chaotic, loud, busy world. Jesus created us to work. But he also created us to need rest. Not only does he allow us to rest; he encourages it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

I know a lot of us struggle with the concept of rest because it can sometimes carry with it a certain amount of guilt. We get used to the busy schedules, traffic jams, ringing phones, and – if we are so blessed – noisy households. We are so conditioned to the busyness, we feel like we are wasting time or being lazy if we carve out some time for quiet.


Can I just remind you that it was God who created the Sabbath? He is Holy and perfect, and he himself rested on the seventh day after creating everything.

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:2)

Resting refuels our soul. It makes us better parents, employees, spouses and friends. It extends a shortened fuse, recharges our enthusiasm, and allows us time to hear God’s voice.

Remember Mary and Martha? Martha thought she was doing right by staying busy in service to God, but Mary was the one who was praised for sitting at his feet. I think God knew we as a people would need lots of reminders that rest is not only okay, but it is very good!

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

God wants more for us than constant motion, service, and completed tasks. He wants us to sit at his feet, hear his voice, and simply be still in his presence. It is a gift he has given to us as his dear children.

When is the last time you sat at His feet and let him refresh your soul? He is ready, waiting and well-equipped to lavish you with love and soothe the unrest that burdens your soul.


Breathe in his goodness. Be still and know.

>> Published on bravegirlcommunity.com <<

9.16.2016

My Pre-K Classroom


I'm a little bit crazy about my classroom this year. The overall theme is "Art." We utilized lots of bright rainbow colors and paint chip cards. Here's a closer look at some of the details!


Our circle time bulletin board is bright and cheerful! This board will stay up all year, and we use it to discuss the calendar, weather, alphabet, colors, numbers and shapes. I'm crazy about the doubled border, and the bottom one that actually looks like paint chip cards. 


The twine lines with clothespins now displays art work done by the kids. The paintbrush was created by my co-teacher last year. She used big sheets of bulletin board paper. To me, the quote from Vincent Van Gogh is perfect for Pre-K. (And the fact that it came from an amazing artist carries out our art theme even further!)



Our writing center is my favorite area in our classroom. I found the red table on craigslist, and my husband cut the leg height down. Our art theme is carried over to this area with the small paint buckets that hold the dry erase markers.



We grabbed paint chip cards from Lowes and turned them into our cubby tags.


We also made our own job chart and utilized paint chip cards to write the kids' names on.



We are a month into this school year, and I can truly say it's already the best year I've ever had as a teacher. After 8 years working with 3-year-olds, I was ready for a change. There's nothing I don't love about teaching these older kids. And the fact that I get to share a classroom with such a good friend just tops everything off. 

9.12.2016

Dream Big, You


When I was a kid, my brother and I would spend hours recording our favorite Disney shows to a blank VHS tape, then hooking a second VCR to the first one and recording what we called "over and over" repetitive clips of our favorite lines from the show.

We would also spend hours choreographing, styling, and filming ourselves lip syncing to our favorite songs. We wrote and filmed our own short films. We. Filmed. Everything.

Even as an adult, I couldn't stop with the videos. I discovered the Vine app and challenged myself to come up with funny 6-second creations.

God put particular care and detail into each and every one of us. He instilled within us unique interests, passions, and desires. Because of that, we enjoy different hobbies. I believe that the things we are drawn to are not there by accident. Their purpose is for us to be able to find ways to serve Him that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Today, I channel my love for videography by filming and editing videos for my church. By no means do I consider myself a professional, and I still have a lot to learn. But my passion for it fuels my desire to become more knowledgable, and with knowledge comes better material.

This quote greatly inspires me: "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

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Why is it so easy for us to tell little ones to dream big, yet we ourselves settle for filling our days with the mundane, required tasks of adulthood?

What do you dream of when you can't sleep at night? And what holds you back from chasing those dreams?

Do you dream of entertaining but immediately count yourself out because your house doesn't look like Joanna Gaines', it's really small, or you can't afford expensive dishes? (Preaching to the choir, here...) Make the best of what you have. If your table only seats four, invite three women over once a month for intentional conversation. (IF:Table conversation cards are a great place to start.) Scour thrift stores and yard sales to find mismatched dishes that reflect your style. Pick wildflowers from the side of the road and put them in a mason jar. Then brew some coffee, make a pie (or thaw a frozen Edwards pie--they're delicious), and invite your friends over.

Maybe you dream of owning your own shop, but you can't afford the start-up. Create a Facebook page, invite your friends to join, then post cute pictures of your handmade or repurposed items. You might be surprised how quickly word spreads about your creations.

Blog. Write a book. Sign up for that course. Start an exercise group out of your home. Pour into others over coffee. Turn trash into treasure, then sell it. Mentor. Feed the hungry. Take pictures. Adopt. Lead a Bible study. Bake. Build furniture. Train for a long run. Explore.
Do that thing your soul was made to love.

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That passion you have is not there by accident. It is God-given, and you'll never find yourself in a sweeter spot than when you are living fully in the midst of His plan for you.

Chase after your passions. Dream big, You.

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
(Philippians 1:6)

(Published on bravegirlcommunity.com)