Say Goodbye to the Lukewarm Christian

I am writing this out of a place of concern and love, but I am going to be rather blunt, so go ahead and buckle up because this could be a bumpy ride. Let’s just get right to the point, the time has come to choose a side. There is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian. What does the Bible say about Christians being lukewarm? In Revelations 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Let’s be clear, when we accepted Jesus into our lives, he expected us to be fully vested in a relationship with him. He never intended for those who truly believe in him to be sitting on the sidelines just dipping his or her toes in the pool to “test the waters.” Nope, sorry friends. Jesus wants us to be in an intimate relationship with him. I would describe a lukewarm Christian as someone who is not fully COMITTED to a relationship with Jesus. Well, here’s a little wake up call and a spiritual smack in the face that is desperately needed during these times…YOU CANNOT FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT WITH GOD. Stop testing the waters. You guys, I get it, I was you. I cared too much about what others thought of me and I tried to fake it and then life happened as it always does. Life presented a situation that broke me. In the middle of my broken heart, my walls came down and Jesus took control. I prayed, I screamed and I cried; and then did it all over again. You see, things were not really working too well with me in charge. I tried to keep God on the sideline. Not a good idea. Jesus has never gave up on me. He continued to pursue me. You guys, he is actively pursuing you. He wants a real relationship with you. I am here to tell you, I wasted way too many years not pursuing Him. I wasted too many years not going all in. The time to go all in is now. We should be running to Jesus and not from Jesus. Your faith journey will take off like never before. You will begin to grow like you never believed possible. When you quit caring what the world thinks and you start truly living for the Lord…well, that’s when you truly begin living. Jesus will meet us right where we are at and turn it for his glory. The line in the sand has been drawn. The time to go all in is upon you. You know that there is no greater love than the love from God. You know he will continue to pursue you even when you push him away. You know he is in the business of forgiveness and you know HE is the only way Home. Put an end to attending on Sunday for that Christian cred’ with the in laws, your spouse, or your parents. Be present in the moment. It is time to get your house in order. Jesus is the gatekeeper to heaven. We all know that there is no amount of money that will earn your way to Heaven. People have decided to sit on the sidelines and be Sunday Christians. Well, sweet friend, I am here to tell you that the time has come to decide where you stand as a disciple for Christ. Either you are all in or you are going to continue to choose the way of the world. I was a Sunday Christian for years, let me be clear, this is not something that I am proud of. I will tell you that 2020 and 2021 has released a warrior inside of me. I am living my life for Christ. I am living my faith out in the open and I have no reservations about doing so. I decided that I am taking a stand for the things that matter and are biblical truths. There is really something to be said about serving. To be completely in, you have to learn to serve God and serve others and do so with joyful hearts. Let’s take a look at Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” It really is just that simple. Serve with a joyful heart. Get involved. Take the Four Finds class at LP to see the ways you can serve. The days of the ‘Convenience Christian’ or Sunday only Christian are over. It is time to stand as disciples and start moving for Christ. As Christians, we have been tasked with sharing the Bible and serving others. I firmly believe that when you share your testimony, God steps in and begins to stir hearts. We can no longer stand on the sidelines. The days of testing the water they are over as well. We need to rise up as the body of the church and be bold in our faith. We need to be bold in our discipleship of Christ. We need to be bold as we serve others within our communities. We need to live for Jesus and not for the ways of the world. Jesus and all of heaven are rejoicing as Earth is staging one of the greatest revivals in Christian history right now. Trust me, this is certainly something you want to be a part of. I firmly believe that Christians are at a pivotal moment in time. I believe we are faced with an ultimatum. I think 2020 and 2021 have ushered a Great Awakening or a revival among people. What I mean by this is simply that the time has come to choose if you are going to take a stand and be a strong disciple for Jesus or if you are going to be a “Sunday Christian.” The lines have been drawn and now is the time to choose where you stand in your walk with Christ. I mean think about it, every day we are closer to God’s return. I want you all to be ready. I want you to know that I deeply care about your eternal future. The days of the counter-fake Christian are over. The days of the disciple are here. Let’s join together as disciples. It is time for the Church as whole to take a stand. Take a stand for your Christian principles. Simply put, read your Bible and apply it to everyday life. The time to be sheep under the control of man is over. We seek to follow our Heavenly Father. We do not find our identities through the ways of the world and if we are, the time has come to make a change or you will be headed for calamity. God equips everyday folks like you and me. I firmly believe it is because testimonies are real and relatable. I would encourage each and every one of you to be bold disciples. I would encourage to put on the Armor of God and live your life fully for God. Take a stand for your beliefs. There is something to be said about what is going on at Living Proof. God is moving within our community. God is continuing to move and stir hearts. The church is being sent out as disciples to encourage one another, to pray for one another and to love each other well. I know this may strike a chord with some of you and well…I hope it does. Your salvation is not something to take lightly. I hope you are encouraged to get off the fence and go all in for Christ. One thing I know for sure, you have accountability, love and support within the LP Community. It is truly amazing to be a part of something so incredible. Something that is completely organic and guided by faith not man. I will leave you with this thought, the world will fail you; man will fail you, that is inevitable; but God will never fail you. He will never leave you. He is omnipresent. He is the calm during the storm. Remember this world is not our final destination. We are passing through till we go Home. And we know there is only one way to enter that Home. As you contemplate your stance as a believer, you need to be able to stand in judgement as you will be asked- did you know Jesus; did you really know him? I am lifting you all up in prayer today. I am praying that this message hits home and hearts are stirred. I am praying that God is in the driver’s seat. I am praying that God grabs ahold of you and the walls come tumbling down. I am praying that LP continues to reach hearts for Jesus through acts of service and loving on members of the community. I am praying that there is this Great Awakening within believers and that God is on the lips of the masses. I pray that people take a stand in their faith and live out their faith boldly. I pray that the ways of the world fall by the wayside. Wishing you a wonderful week.

There is this incredibly poignant scene in “War Room” that gets me every time.  This scene is one of the reasons I have felt convicted to write a blog on this topic.
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From Broken to Mended

This blog has been very hard for me to write. So here goes… you get me.  Completely and utterly unscripted.

I have been in a place of despair, just like you. I know what broken looks like. I know what brokenness feels like. Take a look at the world around us. Brokenness in every direction. Whether we are mourning the loss of loved one taken too soon, the loneliness of lack of communication with others or the sheer volume of a broken world with anger and hostility running amuck. Our hearts are hurting.

Damaged goods. There was once a time that I thought I was so damaged that I was beyond repair. I did not understand how God could possibly love me. I could not even wrap my head around what that kind of love really meant. I would love to be able to tell you that this was addressed in my youth but that is not my story. Like you, my heart has ached. There was a time that my heart was aching to be a mom. After several losses, I wondered if motherhood would happen for me. I would wonder down the baby aisles at Target and Wal Mart. I would always find myself at some point in tears. I am sure anyone who saw me was thinking what is wrong with her. And then I saw her. She was doing the same thing I was doing. Our eyes met and we knew without speaking a word we were facing the same fight. You see, after an early pregnancy loss such as an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage there is no burial. There is no real goodbye. I guess this was my way to cope and say goodbye and to mourn our babies and maybe even find hope.  During this time, I knew who God was. However, I wanted nothing but distance between me and God. I was angry. I felt like a failure. But mostly, I was hurting. I needed God but instead of turning to him, I blamed him for the reason my heart was in shambles. The enemy found a way to entrap me and I allowed it when I turned away from God.

You see, the enemy attempts to frustrate and alienate believers from God. The enemy tries to create a wedge that cannot be overcome. We see that Job stood firm in his authentic love of God and passed the tests of faith orchestrated by the enemy. Satan’s attempting to defraud believers at every available opportunity. If you have not read “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, I highly encourage you to do so. This book provides so much insight as to the method and manipulation utilized by the enemy.

I read two amazing books by Angie Smith that began the healing process for me. “I Will Carry You The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy” and “Audrey Bunny.” And I began writing my own book. I talk in more detail about my journey and it was been so good for me. Writing has always been my outlet. And last but, certainly not least, I made amends with God. I laid years of anger, resentment and hurt at his feet. And with that my heart softened and the healing truly began for me because I know that those babies are resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father.

You see, we all have a back story that is the prelude to our individual testimonies. I know there is another woman who is going through or has gone through a similar situation as me. I want to support her through her brokenness and be an encourager. I do not recommend the route that I took. I needed God and I think I even knew that I needed him yet I refused to let him in. Yet, he continued to pursue me. He did not stop. I pushed and pushed and he never gave up on me. That my friends, is what God’s unfailing love looks like. It is just that simple. The love of God is unlike any other kind of love you ever experience. As humans, we will fail our loved ones, not necessarily on purpose but we are humans and that makes us fallible. You guys, He approached the woman at the well.  The woman with multiple husbands and who was outcasted by her village. He did not care whether or not she “looked or acted” like the atypical Christian. He could care less about appearances. He is all about seeking that personal relationship with YOU. A moment in the presence of Jesus and that woman high tailed into the village to share her story of her encounter with the Messiah.

Thomas struggled with doubt, yet Jesus considered him a close relationship. Jesus left the ninety to find that one lost sheep. The one with a back story who is going through something and needs a moment in the presence of Jesus. Maybe that sheep is you. Maybe you have been running and you are tired. I get it. Heck, I was you. It took me awhile being hard-headed and all to realize that Jesus wanted me just the way I am in that moment…a mess. He was not waiting for me to get it all together and certainly is not waiting for you to get it all together either. He wants to take our brokenness and begin mending us. This is just one of the amazing parts of our testimony, aka the backstory.

From my experience, suffering introduces humility. As humans, we are not profoundly fond of humility. Humility can make us appear vulnerable. I am not one of love the state of vulnerability. Humility tends to showcase our imperfections. However, humility opens the door and allows God’s grace to break down walls. 1 Peter 5:5-6, states, “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Suffering is deeply personal. This is where we need to personally lean on Jesus. Psalm 34:18-19, tells us “the Lord is close to brokenhearted and serves those crushed in spirit. The righteous may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” In Psalm 147:3, “He heals then broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” You guys all we have to do is humble ourselves before the Lord and allow his sweet grace to break down the walls. You can never be so broken that God does not want a relationship with you.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that you do not have to “look” a certain way to be a Christian or have #Christian‘cred, if you will. There is no “Christian look” per se. In fact, a Christian comes in all walks of life. Being a follower of Christ simply means that you have the heart of a servant and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and invest in nurturing that relationship.

By now, you all know that I like to review scripture for my blog but I also try to find a song that drives the message home. The song “Truth Be Told” by Matthew West has been the song that I have listened to and reflected on while writing this blog. It is ok to be broken and it is ok to not be ok. However, it is not ok to live there. This my friends is where the amazing grace of Jesus comes in. He wants our brokenness. He wants us to lay our burdens at feet. And my friends, it is a given fact that we will have burdens and suffering. The Bible tells us in John 16:33, “You will have suffering.” But in this pain and suffering, there is so much potential for growth and sweet, sweet grace. God’s grace for his people is one of the most amazing gifts he reveals to us. We lean on Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of people who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I look at it like this, you have a choice to make: (1) you can continue to run from God and try to handle life and adversity on your own or (2) you can run to God in the midst of your storm and allow God to take the wheel. I would encourage you to choose the second option. I tried the first option for far too long and it never worked out for me in the long run.

On Monday evening before Thanksgiving our family watched God’s Not Dead 2 and there was a phrase in the movie that shook me to my core…Walter Wesley said:
“Honey, you of all people should realize when you’re going through something really hard, the teacher is always quiet during the test.” Umm… ya, that phrase was an “aha moment” for me. I was close picking myself up off the floor.  The quote is so simply but this is THE ANSWER I have been seeking for months. I have been working on this blog for a while now. And there it is just as plain as day…the teacher is always quiet during the test. We must trust his timing during the storm.The test or the storm is the time to really press in and seek God. Read scripture, praise the Lord, worship all while giving Thanks to the creator of Heaven and Earth for he is good especially in the storm.

Jesus, I just want to thank you for all you do and continue to do. Lord, I am praying for those who do not have a personal relationship with you. Jesus, I pray that humility creates a pathway for walls to come tumbling down and God’s grace to enter hearts and lives begin to change as others accept you into their hearts. I pray that folks find hope through Jesus. I pray that through the acceptance of Jesus that hearts can be mended and hope is restored. Thank you for being a good, good Father.

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Thanksgiving

I know that Thanksgiving looks a little different for all of us this year. The year of 2020 has been one for the books for sure, BUT God has been so, so good and faithful. Yes, we are watching our world in turmoil around us but with a God perspective that view is a little different.  Let’s go deeper on this subject.

This year has thrown a great deal of adversity and chaos our way, including the diagnosis of new health issues, online education of our kids, working from home exclusively, stores running out of Clorox wipes and no one will be able to forget the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. Living life during a pandemic has been something. But let’s get down to the amazing things that we can take away from 2020. My family went on a much needed pause in the Spring time. We were able to sit down to dinner and simply talk. No one had to dart out the door to practice. The sad but true fact was that we maybe had dinner together once or twice a week prior to the pandemic. I am beyond grateful for the pause that allowed my family to be a family unit together. Some of our best discussions as a family happen around the dinner table. It was the most amazing opportunity to just be in the moment together. I am grateful that I will take a stand I will value the family unit as a whole. We will not go back to what dinner looked like pre-2020. We have a new standard.

I cannot believe I am saying this, if you worked in the IT department at my work you would certainly agree.. but I am thankful for modern technology. I am so grateful for the ability to zoom, facetime and video chat. I find myself struggling with the need for human interaction. That is saying a lot because I can sometimes need time to decompress. I believe there is something to be said when something you normally take for granted is taken away. Modern technology has allowed our family to visit with family and friends. I have so enjoyed our Facetimes with my grandparents and parents. Of course, I would prefer to HUG them in a big way. If anyone finds a deal of hazmat suit, I am in the market.

I am also thankful to be able to explore adventures in cooking together as a family. The kids and I took advantage of Hello Fresh meals and were able to make gourmet meals together. This opportunity allowed Brogan to find a love for cooking that I dare to say, he probably would not have otherwise found. We also purchased a pellet smoker that has completely wrecked our dining world. Um, all I can say is get yourself one and your stomach will certainly thank you for it. I am grateful for the ability to see personalities show through when we cooked together. Kinsley naturally as a the first born, led. Brody liked the technical aspects of cooking but not necessarily the cooking itself. Our resident other 40 year old, Brody, who lives in a world that is very black (he does not understand his twin Brogan who is 100% living in the gray) made us follow the directions line by line on the recipe cards. The conversation was nothing short of priceless.

Another big one for me is simply TIME, no not the magazine. For example, my commute in the office was approximately an hour plus depending on traffic one way. Now days, I roll out of bed read my devotional and Bible and find one of the greats to tune in to. You know, like Louie Giglio, Jack Hibbs and some guy named Bo Gerken. I have found myself turning to the Word, worship music and speakers of the Word more and more. I have found myself reading my Bible and researching online classes to grow my knowledge base. This is a good problem to have. I am without a doubt grateful for the TIME to be able to focus and dig deeper. I have been able to focus on writing for my blog and book. There is so much peace that comes from expelling my thoughts into written word. Peace and contentment are attributes that I have been able to find a lot easier these days. I am finding who I am through my relationship with Jesus. There is so much FREEDOM to be had with growing your relationship with Christ.

I turned the big 4-0 this November. I was seriously struggling with this number. I also randomly struggled with 26- not entirely sure why. I am a bit quirky I guess. I am about twenty days into 40 and I am learning that I am proud of who I am. I cannot really say that about my 20’s or 30’s. I was constantly searching. I was searching so desperately for a relationship with the King of Kings. I did not know this then of course. I like who I am. I like who I have become. I am a perfectly imperfect mix of somewhere between an ample splash of hot mess meets a Jesus lovin’ Proverbs 31 gal, who fervently loves her family and friends and tells every dog in her path that she loves them- type of gal- otherwise known as quirky or even perhaps different. I am ok with that. I have no desire to be normal. I have reached a point in my life where I am living for Jesus not the world. I am flawed and I fail but I am not quitting, I AM PRESSING IN DEEPER. Join me!

I am grateful for church services and the ability to worship freely. At the end of the day, we all know how the story ends. I will be transparent in the fact that there have been times where I have struggled with hopeless and anxiety. For me, that is a trigger to dig deep. Some nights, I fall asleep while praying. Some nights, it is freezing cold or pouring down rain and I will stand outside and worship. I have to go outside because I was not blessed with a singing voice that sounds like angels-I might need to send apology cards to my neighbors. I am far from it. I also enjoy the alone time, just me, God, the stillness of living out in the country and with hands lifted I worship. You guys, I just know that I need God more than ever before. I need Him to be with me all day, every day.

I am thankful to belong to a family of believers who are focused on the hope that comes with having a personal relationship with Jesus. I am thankful for HIS grace and the Freedom that we can experience as a result of grace. I am thankful to be a part of something that words will never adequately describe. I am blown away by how believers come together in the face of a pandemic and pray collaboratively for a loved one. Words cannot begin to explain the gravity of what it feels like when Jesus enters the scene. Lives are being changed. God is not finished. He is moving and working behind the scenes. There is hope. I mean God knows you. He knows what you are going through. He knows your hurts. Press in. Be different.

Jesus, I come to you today with a grateful heart. I pray for our world. I pray for our country. I lift up those suffering. I am praying for healing. I am praying for believers to go viral with their faith. I am praying hearts, minds and relationships. Jesus, I am thankful for your unforgiving love and mercy. I will continue to lift you higher and bless your name during the storm and the times of prosperity. I pray that we enter the holiday season with grateful hearts and contentment and peace. Lord, we lay our burdens at your feet. In your loving name me pray. Amen.

This is the #givethanks song I am listening to while preparing for Thanksgiving.
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Election Day Prayers

Thank you snapchat for somewhat covering the glitter/ gray.

Since I was a child, my parents would always say not to engage others in politics. Well, sorry mom and dad, I did not heed that advice. As far as politics go, I have always been outspoken with regards to the candidates and the issues. Then 2020 hit and let’s be honest, people have lost their minds for sake of their political stance, myself included.  I have been thinking about this election like many of you for a very long time.  Some folks get excited about Halloween, not me! I get stoked about Election Day! I went to bed early last night to prep for a late night tonight and have my snacks and Black Rifle coffee ready for the late night ahead.  Election Day is my jam!

This year has been nothing short of outrageous. This year has presented so much division in this country over all things related to politics- i.e. wearing a mask, not wearing a mask and Trump versus Biden. People have been unfriended on social media platforms for voicing their opinions. Let me go ahead and emphasize the last word again…OPINIONS. You guys, everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions on issues. We should not condone a person for an opinion that differs from ours. Just keep on scrolling or walk away.

I will share that I vote based upon my Christian beliefs.  I am unapologetically Christian and that is reflected in my voting history.  When the voting is done and the decisions are rendered, I will continue to put my trust and my faith in Jesus not the human(s) elected to office. I am not putting Biden or Trump in the driver’s seat, it will continue to be Jesus who is in charge of the wheel.

I have been leaning on 1 John 2:6, “The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.” That is a big, bold statement, but man it’s good, so good. It has changed my stance on how I will handle myself during this election. I am choosing to Speak Life. Our family, friends and the communities are hurting. So instead of arguing over who should be President, let’s walk how Jesus walked.  Let’s do for others.  Let’s speak life over others. Let’s be a part of the solution, not the problem.

I would encourage you all to be an informed voter. Research, research, research. Before I put my support behind something, I do my research. If that candidate or organization does not align with my Christian belief system then I simply do not back that candidate or organization. I cannot emphasize enough, do your research. I have a spreadsheet that I fill out regarding the candidates from President to local offices. Please see above regarding the nerd comment.  I told you I geek out.

For the first time today, I am praying for all candidates and elected officials. So, let’s get real and biblical here; Trump and Biden were created by the Creator of Heaven and Earth. God created both these candidates. I know what you are thinking, has this girl ever picked up a Bible, of course God created both candidates. I was researching this election for my spreadsheet and I had an “ah ha” moment that shook me to my core. You guys, I realized that I had been reducing the other candidate to a point where they seem so vile that they were less than human. Gosh, that was a hard statement to swallow. Unfortunately, I do not think I am the only person to fall down this path of destruction. This revelation has truly changed the way I speak about the candidates and reaffirms that I am pressing into my faith not the outcome of who wins the election. Afterall, I do not remember Jesus saying to only pray for the candidates you support. You guys, our country needs healing. We need to see a movement of Christians hitting their knees and praying like never before. So, I invite you to join me in prayer for all the candidates today. Yes, all the candidates, not just yours. Then tomorrow let’s band together as a group of believers and pray for those who have been elected into office. Let’s stop the division in this country and come together as a community who prays together.

1 Timothy 2:1 ESV,  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanskgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  Press into this verse today, sweet friends. I know there is uncertainty around us but through Jesus our hearts find sweet, sweet FREEDOM.

Lord, I pray for this election cycle. I am lifting and surrounding each and every candidate and their families in prayer, Lord I cannot imagine the stress and turmoil that an election can cause to a family but I know you can provide much needed peace and comfort in these times. I pray for peace no matter the outcome of this election. I pray for healing. I pray for division to end and unity to spark across this country. I pray for healing of hearts. I pray that as a community we come together in your name and get in the habit of building each other up. I pray that kindness replace hate. I pray that in all things, you get the glory you so deserve. It is in your mighty name I pray, Amen.

Until next time, keep pressing in and encouraging others.

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Let’s Chat About Being Equipped to Serve

“King of the World” by Natalie Grant has been a song that has been on my heart lately. In this song, the lyrics depict how we can downplay the over-arching presence of God in our daily lives. In the past, I have been guilty of being a convenience Christian. A convenience Christian is something I totally made up, but I think it is relevant name for the situation. I would put God in a box and only open the box when it was convenient for me…hence a convenience Christian. This song is currently my go to song, especially during the trying times that 2020 has presented. You guys, I have been watching/stalking the prices of counter fake hazmat suits because I just want to hug my grandparents. My heart is struggling with the loss of person to person interaction. I need human interaction and I certainly want more than Facetime with these two. During this season of life, I felt myself needing to reflect on how God is always there. This song brings my heart the reassurance I so desperately seek from Jesus. 

In the past, I have been guilty of using “religion” and “faith” when it was convenient for me.  I cannot count the times I have played it “safe” in my Christian walk. I have fought with God. I ran from God. Sad truth, I felt led to raise my hands in worship at least a year before I finally let God completely in and raised my hands. Note: the strong-willed child in my home may be a little like his mom… I finally let myself fully grasp what worshipping God really meant. I also resisted the calling I knew that God put on my heart because I let fear control that situation. Sweet friends, listen up and listen well!  Fear is a debilitating disorder that immobilizes us and has such a strong hold on us. I had such a fear of failing that it kept me from what doing what I love and what God has gifted me to do. Fear created so much havoc that I ran from God and from my gifting. Picture this, a gal who loves sweet tea, apple cider donuts (by the bag not necessarily per donut, which might a problem, but let’s save that for another post) who wears leopard print Bob’s basically everyday trying to outrun God.  Oh, and if you do not know what Bob’s are, let’s grab some latte’s and chat- because they are life changing and support a good cause.  You guys silliness aside, I thought I could actually outrun what the King of Kings had set out for me. There is a whole lot wrong with that sentence- both grammatically and spiritually.  Well, let me tell you all a little secret, fear is the biggest liar I know. I fight the enemy’s lies with spiritual warfare. I crank up the worship music and praise the King of Kings. Also, I seek scripture to dispel the lies of the enemy and I pray with a thankful heart. Let’s band together as believers and fight the lies of the enemy with truth from the One who has already won the battle. Spoiler alter, we know the ending of the story and it is good.

I have always loved to write.  I started writing short stories at a young age and continued this love throughout high school.  When it came time for college, I fell victim to fear and did not pursue my calling. I chose the legal path, reviewing and negotiating contracts.  Not a bad gig by no means.  Once I began pursuing a relationship with God, I began to feel the nudge to begin writing again. And one day, I dove in head-first. I would have never imagined that I would be writing about Jesus and my faith but here I am. I am equipped by the One who personally knows me and knows my heart. I know when I write not everything is grammatically correct and I am ok with that.  I write in the same manner as I speak and that works for me. God has equipped me to reach people through written word.

There is no calling that He puts on you that is too small.  Whether it is serving in Children’s Church, being part of the clean-up crew, being a prayer warrior or using your vocal talents on the worship team, God has placed these giftings within to serve others. I would use this comparison, there is a reason a baseball/ softball team has nine positions. Each position could not stand alone but all nine together create the opportunity for success.  

In order to truly be able to serve God in the capacity that he wants us to we need to have a teachable spirit.  A spirit willing to grow in relationship with Christ.  This is the sign of a maturing Christian. 

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

If God calls you to serve, he will equip you in the capacity needed to serve. You have to be ready to receive that calling. Friends, do not waste your time fighting His calling on you.  Another spoiler alert, he will win. He will lead and equip those called. Let’s break it down. I mean picture this: a baby, named Moses, is placed in a reed basket and sent down the Nile River in attempt by the mother to save his life. This same baby becomes the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter and enters an esteemed life.  God calls the same man, Moses to lead thousands out of Egypt. Moses says to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not an eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” God then states to Moses, “who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf the seeing or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say. God is saying to Moses, come on now fella get it together.  I am calling you to be my servant and I will equip you for task at hand. In Hebrews 13:21, Jesus says, that he will equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” It is literally that simple. Jesus will equip the called.  What does Jesus do for Moses? He uses Moses’ brother Aaron to speak through him.

You guys! His plan is so good. He is a Good Father. He works all things for His good. We simply need to get in the habit of listening. Seek Him in scripture. Give Thanks and truly allow yourself to give in and experience praise and worship. You will not regret it.

I will leave you with one of my favorite scriptures on equipping the called from 1 Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Until next time LP, keep pressing in and encouraging others!

https://livingproofchurch.net/

https://www.facebook.com/livingproofpaola/

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He is the King of My World

I have been reflecting on the song, “King of the World” by Natalie Grant. This song is my faith story. For so many years, I put God and my faith in a box. I kept this box tightly shut and opened it only when I absolutely needed to. These days, that box is never shut. I openly live out my faith and my strong belief and need for God everyday, unapologetically. There is a link to this song below, check it out!

I have learned the struggle of learning to grow in my faith. I have struggled with praising God during the valleys. It is easy to praise God during the peaks. It is not easy to praise during our storms. It is hard. It is really hard. But, you guys, it is growth when you reach a point where you can praise and worship the King of Kings even when are in the middle of a storm. God never ensures that our Christian life will be easy and that we will not face challenges. He gives us him to lean on and press into the Word during those storms. Some of worst moments have been fought while still praising God and worshipping. Did I want to praise God in that moment, probably not at first, but I pressed in and knew that I needed God to fight my battles. I tried fighting my storms on my own and eh, not really working out for me.

My spiritual breakthrough happened when I let God lead and I quit caring what everyone else thinks. I quit leaning on the input from others and started seeking God. I no longer pushed my faith in a box. I am unapologetically Christian. I am led by God in my every day. I am human and I perfectly, imperfect but I am his hot mess and for his constant GRACE, I am so grateful!

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Update

Best views from my backyard

How are we already in October? Time is flying by. You guys! We had an amazing women’s event, the Dare To Be simulcast. It was what my heart needed. It was an amazing evening of worship and a great message. I did not realize how badly I needed a night to worship and praise the King of the World. I truly feel like I lost 20 pounds of worry and stress that was weighing me down. Sometimes you need a room full of women to encourage you and build you up. I am blessed to have some of the most encouraging and faithful friends standing by my side. What a blessing!

Um…how much do I love FALL! Oh, so much! My favorite season is fall. I love the changing of the leaves. I do not love Fall allergies. They are less than awesome for sure. I am not sure what it is with baled hay but I love it too. I love this open pasture. It is one of my favorite spots.

And here’s my sweet walking buddy. We have been walking each morning together. We love these amazing Fall mornings. I love time with this sweet girl. I am trying to make sure I get my 10,000 steps in each day. I am working hard to exercising more and making healthier food choices. It’s tough for this Kansas girl cause I love food, especially mashed potatoes and lots of gravy. Stay tuned for updates on this health quest. Oh gosh, I love Chloe girl!

Chloe girl during our morning walk.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6
This is the verse that I have really been reflecting on lately. I love taking a verse or two at a time and focusing on that verse.
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Get Your Life Together Girl

Sometimes I am a crappy friend. I forgot to respond in a timely fashion. I will see a text message flash across my phone. I will think, girl make sure you respond to this and then here we are three weeks later and I feel like a crappy friend. I will miss a call ad again mental note to return the call and here we are in the same situation as above. I promise I am not a bad friend. I can be a little scattered. I have thirteen, nope three kids. Which does not seem like much, but it is. I have to plan meals. The absolute bane in my existence…cooking. I mean can you really get tired of spaghetti? That answer is apparently yes! I would do well with a personal chef. Hence the reason we tried Hello Fresh so my darling kids could learn to appreciate cooking more than their mom. It worked twice out of ten attempts. Not knocking Hello Fresh it has expanded my cooking to a whole new level. I event prepared a gourmet meal. Holla! And it was darn good.

Ugh. Dishes. I hate doing dishes and I despise laundry. I mean let’s be honest, you will never be fully caught up with laundry…like EVER! However, I recently found a recipe for my favorite Campbell’s soup, Noodles and Ground. I enjoyed this little trip down memory lane last nigh. I am blown away. This recipe would have calmed a lot of pregnancy woes about 16 years ago. I sent poor Keith all over Kansas and Missouri searching for this soup. I went on a letter and email writing to Campbells begging for any remaining cans of this delicious goodness. I even asked for gently expired cans. What in the world is gently expired, Tara?

The last two days have been so amazing and fall-like and my heart is so full. I love Fall. I love the changing the leaves and pumpkin spice and apple cider. We are planning a virtual/ simulcast of the Dare To Be event at our church. I cannot wait to worship and press in with some new and old friends.

Our house had some major hail damage to the roof and the siding. We are excited to get started on that transformation. I am team white or light grey siding/ roof and a wraparound open concept Southern porch. Keith is team green metal roof and log siding. Please feel free to cast your votes if you are leaning towards team Farmhouse Tara…

I just wanted to share a quick update and send you all love and well wishes. Here are a few prayers that are on my mind: I know my Aunt Glenda is dealing with wildfires in Oregon she is on the verge of being evacuated. I pray for her safety. My cousin, Sarah is scheduled for a c-section this Friday to welcome her first little guy or gal. I leaning towards a little boy but praying for a healthy mom and baby. Sweet Lea and her family. This darling girl and her family have a special place in my heart. I am praying for Lea’s treatment and her medical team. I pray for the health and well being of this family. I pray for mom to be enough and to know that she is more than enough. I pray that she presses in to you and leans on you. I pray that dad presses in and seeks you. I pray for Lea’s sweet sisters. I pray that they know how amazing they are. I pray that you comfort and guide this family.

I come before you today God with a heart on fire for you. I am in awe of how amazing you are. I am thankful and grateful. God, I lift each and every person reading this up in prayer. I know that you and you alone know their worries, fears and troubles. Lord, I pray that they press in to you and seek you first. It is in your holy name I pray, Amen.

Tara

Back To School, Baptism, Chaos and Fall Y’all

My kids have been back to school for over a week now. They are happy to be back at school. They are not fond of wearing masks pretty much all day but they are adjusting. They are grateful to see their friends and to simply be kids. I am grateful as well. We are creatures of habit and it is nice to have a set schedule rather than the living in limbo like we have all been doing since March. I have noticed my heart was heavy in the last couple of months. I slipped into a deep hole. I let the craziness of 2020 get the best of me. I lost who I was and what I stand for. The truth of the situation is…I saw myself headed down this path. I allowed outwardly circumstances to control me- including my thoughts. I quit working on my book that I was so excited about. My husband and kids did not get the best side of me. I was more than overwhelmed with a situation that I could not control. I have said it once, I will say it again…I just want to see and hug my loved ones.

You guys, COVID sucks, like in the most basic non-political stance ever…it has created mass chaos in it’s wake. I have grandparents, parents, siblings and nieces and nephews that I just want to see and hug! I want to celebrate my daughter’s fifteenth birthday that was in APRIL! I want to walk in a building without a mask. I want to see a person smiling as they walk by not lose their mind because a breach in a six foot space has been infiltrated. I want people to simply show common decency towards others. I prefer to not see folks lose their minds over hoarding thirteen packages of toliet paper. I would prefer to see Americans supporting Americans regardless of political view or socio-economic status. For Pete’s sake, something has to give. This should not be first time news, BUT… YOU can disagree with another’s opinion without blaring profanities and falling short of waging civil war against the other person. It is ok to have a differing opinion. It is healthy to have different opinions.

I am the proud aunt of a police officer and you better believe that this amazing young man is prayed for on the daily in this house. My nephew is serving others day in and out. He works hard in good times and in bad to ensure the safety of those who has taken an oath to serve and protect. For those who do not believe in backing the blue, when trouble comes calling and it quite possibly will at some point and time, who will be on the receiving in of your first call? Truly serving others is certainly something that we as humans need to get in the business of doing. And let me me go ahead and clear up any misinformation, are there bad cops? Yep, but there are also bad doctors, teachers, truck drivers- you can seriously fill in the blank with any profession you can think of.

Let’s get more in the business of supporting and loving on each other rather than putting others down. I can be as guilty as the next person with the comparison shame game. It is something that I need to work on. I, personally need to press in to loving on others more.

Did you see my note above about a book? I am so stinking excited about this amazing opportunity. Writing has always been my greatest outlet. This book is my heart from cover to cover. I have been drafting and editting over the last couple of months. I am closing in on my deadline to get something to my publisher. If you could see the pages they would show my tears, my smile, my heart. Stay tuned for upcoming information!

Updates: Brody got baptized (see pic below)! We have 5 baby kittens. They are pretty stinking cute and I am NOT a cat person at all. Twins are in middle school. Brogan is enjoying running cross country. We are excited to attend his first meet this Thursday. Kinsley is planning on trying out for the school play that is a movie now thanks to COVID. We are about to get started on home repairs thanks to some substantial storm damage from the Summer. I will post pics of our progress. That’s it for now. Stay safe, be humble and exhibit kindness to others.

As I am writing this, I am on a journey to put God first and others second and myself last.

The greatest season is right around the corner. I love Fall. I love pumpkin spice, boots, falling leaves and cool mornings with a cup of coffee.

Hugs,

Tara

Brody got baptized! I am so proud of this guy! He loves Jesus but crowds not so much. He is not one who wants to be the center of attention so this has been a long time coming!
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It’s FINALLY Pumpkin Spice Season!
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Self Care During Covid-19

This is more important now than ever. With the Covid-19 epidemic, lives have changed greatly. It is critical for moms to find some sort of normalcy during the current pandemic. But more importantly it is necessary for moms to take care of themselves so they can give their best to the other members of their family. These days self-care looks a little different than running to the local spa for a tune-up. We may squeeze in a bath at 10:30 at night when everyone has finally gone to bed. An amazing spa experience may look a little something like a Vitamin C Epsom salt bath that is uninterrupted paired with a 2 year old face mask to “cleanse” my pores, followed by me plucking “glittery looking” hair from atop my head. Seriously going to need to work on a part to cover the bald spot or perhaps I just need to wear a hat. Speaking of hats, I recently texted a friend and said I think I need you to talk me out of a good idea. Boxed hair dye. Response was, please don’t. Never a good idea. Girls- if I have one piece of advice it is to avoid dying your own hair. Many instances will turn out ok. However, some of us, me probably specifically, I literally have no idea what I am doing and it will cost more to correct it because I will end of with some weird variation of fire engine red while attempting to cover the gray that is shining through my normally brown hair.

Self-care is also opening your Bible and getting into your Word. Read your Bible while your face mask is blemishing those blemishes and is setting for approximately 10-15 minutes. Self-care is participating in online Bible studies. It can be holding yourself accountable with other women as your press into your relationship with God. I love that this pandemic has allowed so much growth in this area of my life. Take advantage of the time we have to really nurture this relationship. My prayer life is on fire and i am going to invest in this area of my life.

Not all days are five-star experiences, sometimes self-care looks like eating junk food in my closet. I do this frequently. The main thing is be flexible and find what works for you.

Oh Snap Chat, you created the greatest filter.
Matthew 11:28 - Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
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