You can go anywhere from nowhere if you believe God is everywhere. Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, John the Baptist was weird, Peter was hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, The Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul helped murder Christians. BUT they had a relationship with God, and if you do, you can go anywhere from nowhere too. Where’s your nowhere? Where you given up by your original parents? Were you born into poverty? Were you raised around drugs, crime, sex? Are you addicted to something? Are you laden with guilt over something you’ve done? Have you done the worst thing ever? Did someone take you and break your heart? The bible is a comeback story. All those heroes I mentioned have their names in the Book of Life, because even though they came from their nowhere they went somewhere because they believed in God, who is everywhere. so…can…you.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about role models:
1) Role models are life-beneficial but not life-essential.
2) And role models are called role-models, not role-idols. We worship God, we don’t worship people. So don’t make idols out of your models. It’s not fair to them, or you.
3) Role models are often one-way gigs. You admire your role model but don’t get ticked if that isn’t reciprocated. Because if they are good enough to be a role model to you, most likely, they are good enough to be a role model to many others and they only have so much time.
4) I am thankful for my role models, and equally as thankful that the best thing they model to me is that I need to be me and not them.
5) Lastly, God is the ultimate role-model. He loves us, hiccups, bruises, scars, and all. He knows we cannot become Him, and He knows we cannot become someone else. My biggest role-model is the Jesus Christ–the One who created my life, moved into my heart & promised to never move out. Today, I hope He’s your number-one role model, too.
When I was little, I recall a time when my dad’s heart was heavy and our house was somber. His best friend, Craig, had taken his life and my dad had to identify his body. Over the last decade, I’ve had two childhood friends and a cousin do the same. I have deep compassion for these families, friends and their losses, but admittedly, I don’t understand how they feel. But what I have seen is that suicide is not the answer. I am thankful my couple of attempts failed. I have lived to see the goodness of God and his miracles in our comebacks. He determined the day I would arrive and I trust his timing on the day I will depart. It’s too big of a burden to be responsible for the coming and going of one’s life. No matter how deep the valley, how dark the sky, how slimy the pit, there are people who need me (and you) in their lives. I can not be replaced by anyone else. I love this verse about the preciousness of life when Jesus promised, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Some of us may feel like our life has been stolen, but with Jesus, we can get it back. I hope this encourages someone today. If I can pray for you, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
disclaimer: I wrote this from personal experiences. I do not profess to have any professional education or training in this. #mentalhealth #mentalillness
In light of the pain caused by others, can there be any positive? Oh, heck yes! It starts with remembering the cross. Jesus endured the greatest pain by others OF ALL TIMES. He was betrayed by his friends, ignored by his family, forsaken by his followers. And then He died. Now that would be a miserable end of the story. But that’s not the story. The story is that He rose. In the ultimate way, He came back from the pain caused by others. And you. can. too. One of the greatest joys in my life is Jesus bringing me back from pain caused by others and using that to help others in theirs. Our story can be used for God’s glory. You’ve been abused and healed? You’ve been betrayed and healed? You’ve been rejected and healed? You lost someone but have peace beyond understanding? You’ve raised a rebellious child and didn’t give up on him? Your spouse left you and you kept going? If Jesus helped us through our pain caused by others, we have a story to tell that others are desperate to hear. “Hide it under a bushel, no!” Let the power of God’s healing and let the story of your comeback, SHINE! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!! That is the good that can come from a bad. I hope this encourages someone today.
When we study the life of Jesus, we learn he had emotions but he did not lead by them. And if it helps, think of it this way…how different would things be if he had? His feelings could have talked him out of his miracles, his crucifixion, his resurrection. Emotions are good. God created them. But they shouldn’t steer the direction we go in. Having battled my mind since I was a kid, I’ve often been emotionally-overcharged & emotionally-inconsistent. And boy, have I made stupid decisions during those moments! I’ve learned that emotions are a good response but a terrible decision-maker. So what to do? Entrust your emotions to God. We don’t need to add one more thing to our lives by trying to control all the emotions that are flowing through us. So round up all your emotions and lift them up to God. And get back to breathing, being still and letting Him (not your emotions) guide your life.
As I posted about a few days ago, I had the chance to serve at our Homestead Women’s Correctional Facility last week. After our Church by the Glades service concluded, some of the women came forward for prayer. I got to pray with four of them. The first girl asked for prayer for the big zit on her chin that wouldn’t go away. The other three girls asked for Jesus to come into their hearts. As I reflected later that night, I realized God cares about our zits… our salvation…and everything in between. God’s spectrum of love is endless, and so are the things we can ask him. The bible says, “you don’t have, because you don’t ask.” Prayer is one minute asking God to help you find your keys, the next, begging God to help you resist your addiction. And knowing BOTH matter. I hope you know Him. I hope you bring everything to Him. It all matters to Him. Just ask the girls at Homestead.
On many famous accounts, God displayed his love in big things: parting a sea in half, ingesting a human in a whale, raising Jesus from a tomb. But is God’s love in small things? Yes. God’s love is often in insignificantly-small people: a deaf man, a paralyzed man, a girl in adultery, a virgin carrying His son. Have we ever realized the insignificance of these people? Rather, do we realize their significance to God? He didn’t pick Hollywood celebrities to perform these mighty miracles. He didn’t pick the ones with the most “likes” and “follows.” Out of 22 miracles Jesus performed, 20 came from insignificant backgrounds. In the world, we often have to be “somebody.” But in Christ, we already…are. every. thing. You don’t need to beef up, clean up or puff up. You show up. And God loves you right from there. I was never popular as a kid. I don’t know what it’s like to be “most likely to succeed” or nominated to prom court. But I do know what it’s like to be recklessly, unconditionally, emphatically loved by God. You may feel small in your corner of the world, but to God? You’re an heir He’s proud to show you off. If you were the only small, insignificant one on Earth, you would have been worth dying on the cross for. You may feel small in your eyes, but you are the biggest focus of His. I hope this encourages someone today.
Last night, our church went to the Women’s Homestead Correctional Facility to put on our weekly church service for them. It was my first time. I didn’t know what to expect….
Several years ago, I asked God to give me eyes that see hurting people the way He does. That’s a dangerous prayer if God answers it. Praying that prayer meant signing up my heart and eyes to feel people’s pain without going through it. Compassion can be a bittersweet thing. Throughout the night, I looked away so I could fight back tears and bite my lip to keep them from falling. Make no mistake, for most of these women, justice was served when they were sentenced. My compassion wasn’t wrapped up in that. My compassion came from the circumstances they were born into that they had no control over. Thinking about that made me cry. But it wasn’t all tears! I was also filled with insurmountable joy that I get to be a part of a church family that brings the message of eternal freedom to women who may never have earthly freedom!!! Romans 8:1 says, “Who Jesus sets free is free indeed.” These women have a barricade around their lives, but many of us have barricades around our hearts. These women didn’t chose prison, per se, but many of us keep ourselves in a proverbial prison. Either way, it is in the name of Jesus that ALL of us can have freedom. A heart that is free to unleash itself in the reckless abandon of God’s love. I hope you know Him.
I am not a good reader. It takes me a long time to get through words on a page, much less, get through one book in a month. My hubs, Raul, is a great reader. You can tell when you talk to him that he has read a lot. And he’s a good role model to our boys when they catch him reading on the patio instead of watching tv on the couch. All that to say, here are my Top 10 leadership books. It may have taken me awhile to finish them, but I did and gained a lot because of it.
10. Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley/Lane Jones. By knowing your destination before you leave (identifying the major premise you want to communicate), using your turn signals (transition ahead!), and employing five other practical points, you’ll be on the road to success [with communicating].
Fact: we will get hurt by people. Fact: we will need to work to heal. Fact: Part of healing is sharing. Question: Who do we open up to? It’s important to identify the circle of trust you can open up to when you’ve been hurt. NOTE: be careful identifying this circle. I have been guilty of loosely-defining my “circle of trust.” If we go outside our God-appointed circles to share our pain, we end up gossiping with people who aren’t meant to be in-the-know and possible setting us up to get hurt again. So who do we talk to? Remember this: before I say it, let me pray it. Go to GOD before you go to people. This brings God into it. He will send the right ones with the right hearts to receive your pain in the right spirit. Jesus modeled this when He was in pain. On the night He was betrayed, only his circle of trusted disciples heard about his pain and tended to him. Another thing is when we have been hurt by people, it is good to talk about it. Stuffing it is NOT good! Again, read the account of Jesus’ last days in the bible. He gave the perfect display of expressing (not stuffing) pain. Maybe you are thinking, “But I have no one I can go to.” I have been there. And I would encourage you to go to Jesus and a Christian counselor. I hope this encourages someone today. God’s Best to you.