Hummingbirds…

“Why can’t my hummingbirds just get along?” My friend posted this on facebook today and it made me giggle. I, too, have delighted in watching the battle of the hummingbirds in my own back yard, as they chase each other away from the feeders.

Between my house and my neighbors, the hummingbirds are privvy to at least five feeders; yet, every day the chase is on like donkey kong. Fascinating, isn’t it? Instead of enjoying the abundance of sugary sweetness around them, they spend most of their time fighting.

Isn’t that a picture of us? I imagine God looking down on us pondering the same question, “why can’t my children just get along?” He watches as we chase each other, coveting each others’ possessions, allowing jealousy and comparison to cloud our hearts. He watches as we desperately try to keep up with proverbial Jones’, instead of finding satisfaction in our own last name. He watches as we think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, instead of savoring the sweetness of the grass in our own back yard.

And because He knew that we would struggle, fight, covet and compare, He sent the sweetest gift of all to us: His Son, Jesus; in hopes that we would stop chasing each other and start chasing Him. He sent Jesus so that we would stop fighting and start loving Him. And others.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:14‭-‬17 NIV)

Who are you chasing? I encourage you to savor the sweetness of God; cherish the abundance of His goodness in your life; and love those around you fiercely.

Be hopeful!

A tantrum…

I teach a Pound fitness class on Tuesday mornings at my gym. If you aren’t familiar with Pound, you should check it out! You release your inner rock star while playing drums to awesome music. (Your legs will never forgive you.)

I introduced some new songs last week in class and really found my groove today until the very last new song. Being a perfectionist, I went back to this song at the end of class determined to get it right. As you probably guessed, I messed up again right at the end of round two. Now I have already established here that I do have a flair for the dramatic, so I threw my rip styx down in haste and watched as one bounced and hit a participant smack dab in the middle of her forehead. (If my boss is reading this, I am so sorry! And I really love my job!) Before I move on, this sweet gal was not injured, thank God. And we did get a good laugh.

When I was reliving this less than fine moment of my day with my husband, he teased me and said, “see what happens when you throw a tantrum.”

I don’t know about you; but, I have been know to throw a tantrum or two in my life. In fact, when I was little, I would throw myself down face first on the floor, kicking and crying when things didn’t go my way.

If we are honest how many times in life do we throw a tantrum when things don’t go our way? How many times do we kick, cry and whine to God about the unfairness of life? How many times do we question His sovereignty and faithful love for us? And how many times is that tantrum actually a result of our brokeness or bad choices?

Y’all, grace changes everything!

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15 NIV)

He is gracious, even in the midst of our tantrums. He is abounding in love, even in the midst of our questioning. And He is faithful even in the midst of our self created drama.

He is a good Father and He is quick to scoop us up, wipe our tears and will even use our messes for His glory!

So, maybe next time, I will consider Him before I throw a tantrum. I sure will save myself a lot of embarrassment.

Be hopeful!

Give a dog a bone…

The angel dog and the stray dog Baby have two distinct approaches to bones. Baby takes the bone and immediately settles into chewing it, usually under the coffee table.

The angel dog does not. He lays with his bone in his mouth and watches Baby. And he waits. You see, Baby will eventually leave a part of her bone unattended and the angel dog will swoop in, taking her sloppy bone remnant quickly onto the couch. Angel dog will then chew that bone remnant as fast as he can, and go back to taunting Baby with his original bone.

Here is the irony in the story. When there is no more bone, Baby simply moves on to play with her toys. She is not concerned with angel dog in the slightest, nor does she covet his bone. Angel dog, on the contrary, is obsessed with Baby and will growl if Baby even moves in his direction, just to protect his treasure.

What is your approach to the treasures in your life? Are you like Baby, completely focused, enjoying the moment and savoring the goodness of the treasure filled with happiness and perfectly content? Or are you like my angel dog, hoarding up your treasure, coveting what others have, filled with jealousy and discontent?

Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:19‭-‬21 MSG

Did you catch it? Our treasure is Jesus. And heaven is our home. We are to be so heavenly minded that simple treasures here on earth do not matter. Y’all, nothing compares to the Glory that is to come!

So, I say enjoy those bones when they are handed out, glorifying your Father in heaven. And then move on because the best bone is yet to come!

Be hopeful!

Just Do You, Boo…

I am going to be honest. I watch a television show called Married at First Sight. I find it fascinating. A team of experts put couples together based on interviews and assessments. The couples literally meet for the first time at their weddings. It is a modern twist on arranged marriages and I find the show wildly addictive.

On a recent episode, one of the newlyweds made this statement to her husband, “just do you, boo.” This is not the first time I have heard this particular comment. It seems to me that “doing you” and “speaking your own truth” are prominent schools of thought in today’s culture. And I know that in many circumstances these comments are not intended to be anything more than a mindless statement of support and encouragement. Sort of a verbal way of leveling the playing field. However, we are living in a culture of me, myself and I. And is it really okay to just “do you boo” even at the cost of someone else? And where does this “truth” you are speaking truly come from?

Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV).

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31‭-‬32 ESV

We are called to follow Christ’s example and he spoke truth in love. We can find absolute truth in the words of our Father written to us in His Word. Our truth comes from Him and His Word, not some watered down version of the truth that the world hands to us. And definitely not our own version of the truth. There is simply one way, one truth and one life.

I would say “do you boo”; if, and only if, that you is a reflection of the Father and is derived from obedience to His word and His calling for your life. You see, you are completely made new in your identity in Christ and you absolutely should be the you that Christ created you to be! He made you for a specific purpose, reason and season!

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5‭-‬8 NIV)

Be hopeful!

Take a Break….

You may have noticed that I took a summer sabbatical from writing. Honestly, last spring brought some unexpected challenges for me and my family and I found myself entering into summer feeling a bit depleted and definitely in need of some soul tending. So, I decided to take a step back from a few things, dig into His Word, and focus my energy on my family and the day to day flow of summer. Crazy, right? How often do we allow God to grab our attention and listen to His voice when He instructs us to take a break, take a deep breath and get back to the basics?

I have been reminded this summer of the importance of finding restoration in the stillness of God. And I realized that often we allow the business of involvements and life in general to keep us on the surface, placing band aids on things in life that require a little deeper healing. In the process, we keep God at arms length; instead of allowing Him to lean in and tend to our needs.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Psalms 23:1‭-‬3 ESV

Did you notice the language here in this Psalm? He makes me lie down. He leads me beside still waters. Then, He restores my soul. What a lesson God is giving us here! When was the last time you took a step back and intentionally laid down and allowed your Father to tend to and restore your soul? Or are you allowing the day to day business of life to continue to deplete and chip away at your soul?

Take a break today and allow God to speak to you. He will lead you. He will restore you. He will tend to your every need. You see…

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:6 ESV

Be hopeful!

I Saw God today…

The manager at the gym where I work has started placing my initials on a bottle of water each morning. So, when I arrive to teach, I find my very own bottle of water waiting for me in the cooler. She even takes the time to make my initials into bubble letters. It truly delights my heart because it is such a simple act of kindness.

It occurred to me that simple daily acts of kindness are a reflection of our Father. We could change our communities if we would seek to practice kindness towards those around us every day.

Our ability to be kind comes from our Father in heaven. He is love. He is good. And He is kind. His kindness extends to us every day. We just have to take the time to look for it. You see, the initials on the water bottle pointed to simple kindness, which pointed to God. I saw God today!

Every day, when our eyes open and our feet hit the ground, God has placed His initials all over us! His initials are carved in our breath, our blessings and our steps. We have the opportunity to point our hearts and minds to this incredible truth and delight in it!

So, today, look for an opportunity to practice a simple act of kindness. And do it with the full knowledge that God delights in your initials and in your obedience.

Be hopeful!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 NIV

Retail Therapy…

After my father passed away, my mom taught me an important part of the grieving process: retail therapy. Often, when we felt a little blue, we would head to the mall and shop the day away. And still to this very day, one of my favorite things to do is shop with my mom. Now please, before you start judging, know that I am very aware that shopping is not a healthy coping mechanism; however, some of those trips to the mall sure did get our minds off of the grief and allowed us to enjoy time together.

During the last few weeks, my husband and I have been weathering a storm. It has been pretty intense and we have felt a bit bruised and battered. So, I had to giggle when he took the day off last Friday and told me we were going to get some retail therapy. We headed to the mall in Houston, putzed, talked, laughed and even found a good deal on luggage! The day ended with a delicious dinner with a beautiful view at a new restaurant. It felt simply luxurious and reminded me how very thankful I am to be navigating life with him.

Honestly, there just may be something to this idea of retail therapy. Not in the buying; but in the change of location, head space and pace. The focus of the day became something completely different, shifting the storm clouds out and allowing the sunshine to pour down. The result? Well, I felt thankful, relaxed, renewed and ready to battle some more knowing that I am not alone!

Christ does all of this for us and more. Are you battling a storm? Do you feel overwhelmed and alone? Jesus is the best therapy out there! Spending some time with Him, putzing, talking and laughing will change your mindset and lighten your load. In fact, when we try and navigate storms without Him, we will not succeed. Just like Peter, we must keep our eyes on Jesus in order to get out of the boat and navigate the deep waters of this life. Jesus provides a safe haven for us and He renews, restores and refreshes our souls, especially during the storms! Who knows, He might even lead you to that good deal on luggage. 😉

I encourage you to take time to remember whose you are in the midst of the storm. Allow Jesus to equip you, lead you and tend to all of your needs. During every season of life. And be reminded that you are never alone in the battle!

Be hopeful!

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
Matthew 14:27‭-‬33 NLT