Why, yes, we do validate!

Friendship is not for the faint of heart. Real friendship can be messy sometimes if we’re real, honest, and hold each other accountable. Nothing is harder than hearing you’re wrong from someone you really respect and want to be respected by, but if I’m wallowing in pig poop, I need someone to tell me this isn’t the time for a facial!

However, I’ve been known to stand in the poop and try to argue that it’s a spa treatment. God has really been teaching me to listen to the correction, searching my heart for any truth in it. Because I’ve learned that even if the entire message doesn’t apply, there is usually a grain of truth in it. But that grain of truth can rub skin raw like a salt scrub body treatment in the moment. Humility is hard. I want to be right. I want to get things right, so the past 24 hours has been hard. I beat myself up a lot when I don’t things right, but I’m learning.

Yesterday, one of my dearest friends and I had a disconnect. We were both trying to be Godly women, but between text messages, and conversation snippets (talking on the phone around kids, meals and husbands), we both ended up wounded and wounding each other on accident.

She was upset about an interaction during her day. I was trying to be a good friend. I heard the words she used in her message, tried to process what I thought was happening and vowed to give her some time before calling, but when she came to me with her hurt, I rushed in with my opinion. She was still raw, and we talked before she’d really had a chance to process. I had prayed about her situation before talking to her, tried to wait for the right words, but I still jumped in before she was ready to listen, and made some mistaken conclusions about how she was feeling. And because she was so hurt already, nothing I said could be heard with the heart from which it was spoken.

Luckily, we’ve been in the trenches together as teachers, women, wives, moms, Christians, and friends together for a long time, so even in the worst moments of this situation, we were calm and kind, even though we were both feeling like we missed something somewhere.

But thank God for His love that transcends the human emotions of a moment that wants to throw in the towel and quit. His love pushes us to say, “Can we try that conversation again?” Thank the Lord for His word, where we both immediately went in our emotions, and kept coming back from, ready for restoration.

In bits and pieces, between vomit and poop crises and softball practice and big brothers with sharpies, she and I did eventually manage to figure out where each of our hearts were right and what needed correcting in both of us. We were both validated, and also, both instructed. We both got to say, I’m sorry and I forgive you. It really was a beautiful moment in a friendship. We were both able to start over, communicate more clearly, and realize that if we’d both slowed down yesterday to do that in the first place, neither of us would have spent a day feeling upset.

Because we have had these conversations over the past 24 hours, broken into pieces, I’ve been in prayer and deep contemplation about how to talk to her, asking God to show me what I personally needed to hear.

First, I heard, “speak from where you are. You know what you’re thinking and feeling for certain.” When I did that, it we got to the right train of thought, but we still had some work to get to good. So I kept asking, what do I not see?

Usually when I ask Him that, he turns my family into my living object lessons.

Lesson #1 My husband came home from the ER yesterday with a smashed thumb. He dropped a missile on it. (Yes, a missile. Gotta love the army.) He was howling in pain as he tried to ice it. Our daughter tried to show him the ocean-themed get well card she created while he was in the midst of his pain. He wanted to listen to her, to give her proper attention but he couldn’t because of his intense pain. She tried to get louder and louder, but he was trying not to cry, he couldn’t do anything gentle or productive at that moment.

Note to self – when someone is really hurting, they can’t hear anything in their crisis. Just hold on to them and wait.

Lesson #2  I was on the phone (blue-tooth/hands-free) on the way home from our daughter’s softball practice, trying to get some wisdom from another treasured friend to get some insight into how I can better approach people. I’m about to start a ministry with people from all different places in their walk with Christ. I want to make sure I really learn how to love people correctly.

My daughter was screaming from the back seat. I signaled her to stop several times, but she just got more willful, until I did the most terrifying thing a mom can do – I pulled over. I don’t know about you, but my parents threatened to pull over or turn around a lot, but stuff got real when they actually did it. I made it clear that she could not scream while we were in the car, nor while I was on the phone, especially not the double whammy of being on the phone while in the car.

My daughter quieted down, but continued to be upset. When I ended the call a few minutes later, I looked into the kid view mirror. She was still in a puke stained, dirt encrusted softball outfit. Her sweaty hair was plastered to her forehead. She was exhausted from just being her little four-year-old self, and her tiny face was twisted into the biggest sad face ever.

“What is the matter?”

She looked at me and said, “I don’t feel special or loved anymore.”

Whoa! Yes, she IS that dramatic. Of course, I love you, I said, then we talked about what she had been doing wrong, that she needed correction. She agreed that she knows better than to scream and yell at me.

But then she added, “But I don’t feel special or loved when you get mad at me.”

What a wondrous child to be able to tell me what she needed. I told her that of course, she is loved and special all the time, that even when she is at her naughtiest, I love her forever and always, more than the whole world. But her bottom lip quivered, so I told her again. Then I held her leg. I can’t reach her hand in the van, but I can hold her ankle. So we drove home with her smiling happily while I held her leg.

I validated her feelings FIRST, then again. Then I held onto her with all I could, and only then could she hear the correction of her behavior, not who she is.

aha4aiconAh ha! The moral of the story – instead of being able to gently lead my friend to what I was learning in Christ that might relate, she was already in so much pain, then I added to the heap of coals by making her feel criticized, like I didn’t value her, like she wasn’t special or loved, like maybe somehow I saw her as less or broken. Well, no wonder she couldn’t hear me. She was doing her smashed thumb dance, and I thought it would be a good time for a deep philosophical conversation. Why would she want to??

I had to learn how to hear her first, then how to support her, and then ask her “What are you feeling?” “What do you think about it now that you’ve had time to think?” “What are you hearing from God about this?” AH HA!

As soon as I asked her that question, we were back on the right track. She felt really good being able to process what she was feeling, thinking, learning. I could hear growth in her relationship with God, and she could know that I was empathizing with her, not trying to fix her.

Was she wallowing in pig slop and needed me to stop her from giving herself a poop facial? In the end, not so much. Did she need me to be a voice of truth? That remains to be seen. At that moment my behavior wasn’t the most effective. But luckily she was super patient with me and really walked me through a gentler way to get her to come to those realizations herself.

Wow, I know how to use questioning to lead people to finding the right answer; I really feel like kicking myself, but the truth is even when we “know” something, sometimes until the Holy Spirit has opened our hearts, that knowledge is just words. In a very real way, He taught me how to better be an ambassador of love today. Even though nothing I said was wrong or un-Biblical, I learned that I can better choose when or if to say something.

Both of us grew closer to each other and God through going to Him today.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Because when we stand and look at Him, he cleans us up by degree. And sanctification, like good friends, is a tremendous blessing from God. Cool-Cat-Cafe-Free-Parking-with-Validation

So hopefully, she knows now, that in my friendship parking garage, why, yes, we do validate here. When examining the muck, I need to ask her what she thinks. Is that poop or chocolate? If it’s poop, let’s find the car wash together. If it’s chocolate, it’s every woman for herself.

Faith Mountain

I am standing in the muck right now, spiritual muck. Life got real hard spiritually during the past week. From the outside, everything looks great or at least no different, but from the inside I’m standing in front of a faith mountain pounding my fists against its craggy surface, screaming, “MOVE!!!” But it doesn’t budge.

I’m feeling discouraged, defeated, depressed, wounded, alone. I spent several days last week near tears every second of the day. My heart felt like an albatross around my neck. I had moments of laughter, but the sadness just kind of hung around. The situation grew into a mountain. It was a mountain that I have known was there, but all of a sudden it was very real and very present, and very in my way. A few times my faith mountain even grew into a volcano erupting all over my life. I’ve been praying for this particular mountain for a while, but it hasn’t moved at all. If anything, it has gotten larger recently.

Matthew 17:20 ESV  He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Are you familiar with this verse from Matthew? At first, reading this it felt like an accusation. Do I not have enough faith? Certainly cause to spend some time in my bible and in prayer. Of course, we can always use more faith. The closer we draw to God, the closer He draws to us. The more faith we have, the more faith we get because we see Him move in our lives.

James 4:8a ESV Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

I felt really lost. I didn’t know what to do. I really couldn’t DO anything. Isn’t that just the worst feeling in the world? Feeling upset, angry, depressed, anxious and not being able to DO anything about the situation feels like emotional quicksand. The more I thrash against it, the faster I sink into it. One sad thought leads to another and another. Before I know it, my heart is leaden with anxiety and sorrow. Then my daughter’s memory verse came to mind. (I love how her memory verses have become mine as well. We sing them and learn them together.)

2 Cor 10:5b “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Letting my thoughts run away with me wasn’t going to solve anything. It was only letting worry and anxiety rob me of the truth. So, instead of reacting with my emotions, I prayed for God to be present for me and opened my Bible app.

Psalm 55:22 ESV “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Like soothing waters, God placed that verse right on my opening screen as the verse of the day. I needed to read that verse. But my mountain didn’t move. My feelings of being overwhelmed with grief didn’t instantly go away either. But it was a start. A chance to learn that my job is to be righteous and let God hold me up against the attacks in this world.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Then I read all of Psalm 55. David was feeling alone, betrayed by a close confidante, fearful, depressed, but he believed God listened to his cries, that God redeemed his soul in the midst of his battle.

Psalm 55:18 ESV  He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

God knows we’re fighting a battle. God knows that those closest to us can betray and destroy, but our protection is in Him. God promises us that He is listening to us, planning our victory. Again in Mark, he promises us our mountains are nothing for Him.

Mark 11:23 ESV  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Awesome stuff. But read the next verse.

Mark 11:24 ESV Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

I’ve asked in prayer. I’ve believed it will be mine. But then I considered that the verse doesn’t say when the mountain will be moved, just that it will be.

This is how raising my daughter is sanctifying me, again. We were headed out to the pool. It was full of leaves and bugs from the storms of the week. It was kind of nasty. Now, that I’m the mom, I get to do the nasty things around here. FUN. So I climbed in with our skimmer and started swimming in the muck. My daughter stood outside our pool waiting to climb the ladder. I could hear her impatient yelling as I dove in over and over to scoop the leaves from the bottom. She wanted to swim NOW. She couldn’t see over the side of the pool and understand why she couldn’t get in yet. There was nothing wrong with her desire to swim, but the water wasn’t the best it could be. She had to trust that before she could come in that I had some work to do.

It was in this moment, scooping wasps, floating fire ants, and decaying leaves that I realized my faith mountain is only what I can see from my limited human-centered perspective. Maybe God is standing on the other side doing His good work, preparing the way. His timing isn’t slow to torture me. His timing is so that none will perish. God wants us to have His best. Sometimes His best takes time, but He isn’t ignoring me. God is good all the time. He is working in ways beyond my understanding, just like my ways were beyond my daughter’s comprehension.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

When I think about my faith mountain in the perspective of eternity, I realize that my impatience isn’t worth anyone staying lost. In fact, just holding onto that verse strengthened me. I drew close, and He answered.

Isaiah 61:1 ESV “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”

I was reminded that my struggles might be so that I can claim victory in His gospel, to be a salve to the brokenhearted. Some of the most horrendous experiences of my life have resulted in me being able to be a blessing, to proclaim God’s power to those still in darkness and pain. God doesn’t necessarily want my pain, but if I am faithful, I can seek Him through it, and receive His comfort for me so that I can offer that comfort to others.

I can honestly say in that moment my darkness lifted, even though my mountain has not, yet. Knowing God’s perspective and promise and perfect love for all of us really gave me a joyful heart in the midst of the battle.

I can’t share exactly what my faith mountain is because it really isn’t my mountain. It is more like someone else’s mountain that just happens to be standing smack dab in the middle of my life. But I don’t believe it matters. In fact, if I told you, you might say,’ well that isn’t something I struggle with’. By just calling it a mountain, you can imagine your greatest obstacle in my way. Kind of like Paul never clearly describes his thorn in the flesh, so we can imagine our greatest weakness and see his testimony as personal.

We all have faith mountains. Some are molehills our fear and anxiety turn into mountains, but I think as Christians, we’ve all stood in front of our own ideas of a mountain and prayed for it to be removed. I know I have and only realized God’s plan was working the whole time, long after the fact.

Do you have a faith mountain in your way today? Do you have something that you’re impatiently waiting to have moved or solved?

Psalm 34:18 ESV The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Claim this verse today. Let Him be your comfort. Seek His word. I always find Him there.

The Butterfly Effect: Handling Rejection as a Christian

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

How are you with handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

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One early fall afternoon a few years ago, I’d been crying. I had shared my passionate fire for Jesus with a friend, but she didn’t want to hear it. Her marriage was struggling. I shared how my relationship with Christ had transformed my marriage. But all she could hear was more things for her to do when she felt like she was already doing everything.

Not only did she reject a Christian take on marriage, our friendship ended.

Later, I replayed every word in my head. I had tried come alongside her, speak with love, gentleness and compassion, and being real about my own brokenness, failures, sin, and redemption.

But something had gone terribly wrong!

I kept trying to rephrase it, find just the right words, but nothing I did seemed to matter. She just grew less willing to listen. She walked away from our conversation and friendship without even a good-bye.  I was just devastated.
But I realized that handling rejection well has to be part of our walk as Christian women. We are supposed to share our testimony, prepared to also share in suffering for it.

2 Timothy 1:8 ESV “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,”

Trying not to let my hurt derail me, I needed some time with God. Seeking His solace and comfort, I went outside to be alone to pray. My daughter is wonderful at a great many things, but being quiet is not one of them. 😉

“Dear God, I don’t know what to do. How do I deal with this pain? What should I do to heal this fractured relationship? How can I be obedient to you in the middle of this hurt?” Tears filled my eyes as I prayed.

A small orange and black butterfly swooped over my head and fluttered its way to the tree above. Squinting in the sunlight, I looked into the branches, but it was gone. All I could see was a bunch of leaves browning in the late summer heat wave.

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

But then the wind rustled the leaves, and the butterfly flickered to catch the cool breeze on her wings. Her vibrant wings shone against the dreary backdrop.

God whispered into my heart that moment.

A beautiful butterfly can be lost among the dying leaves if she looks like her surroundings. Click To Tweet

A beautiful butterfly can be lost among the dying leaves if she closes up to look like her surroundings. It is only when she dares to open as a new creation that her beauty is obvious.

The Butterfly Effect is when we stand out as vibrantly alive in the midst of a dead world.

One tiny butterfly amidst a tree full of brown leaves was all the more beautiful because of the contrast between her and the surroundings.

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

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2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Chills raced over my arms. I felt God’s words flow into my heart.

I’m not supposed to look like the rest of the world anymore. I’m not supposed to blend in. God is calling me to stand out, not as myself, but as a witness for Him.

I may not be blameless in the derailment of our friendship. In my excitement and immaturity, I may not have presented my faith with gentleness or waiting patiently for the right time. I’m learning how to best reach people where they are, but she wasn’t rejecting me, not really. For the first time, I truly understood the following verse.

John 15:18 ESV “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

Jesus knew we would need help handling rejection!

I had forgotten what it felt like to be running full tilt away from God, walking away from people who could only talk about Jesus, the darkness in me refusing to be around their light.

Romans 8:7 ESV “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

Their light made the darkness in me so obvious. I got angry, indignant, and chose my way over God’s. Thank goodness, He didn’t leave me there!

Ephesians 5:8 ESV “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

Jesus and the Holy Spirit changed my life, my heart, changed my parenting, and my marriage. I wanted to shout it from the mountains. It was a miracle for my life and family.

Who wouldn’t want a miracle?

People who don’t know they need one. People who have never truly come face to face with their need for salvation and grace.

She couldn’t see God’s blessings in what I was saying. All she could see was the things of this world she would have to give up to follow Christ.

Who wouldn't want a miracle? People who don't know they need one. #butterflyeffect #newcreation Click To Tweet

Most believers will tell you we all have moments in which we cling to worldly things. Selfishly holding onto something that isn’t what God wants for us, we later realize it was holding us back from best things God wants for us.

1 John 2:15 ESV  “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Serving God has to be an all or nothing proposition.

Being sold out for Jesus is a decision. When the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to God, and I started to understand grace, my whole heart changed perspective. Letting Him clean up my life is a process, but I had to surrender as master of my heart. And in doing so, I learned that I am such a happier person without the very things I used to think made me ‘happy.’

I would love to tell you this friend has come back and asked me what makes me so different, and maybe someday I can. I can’t say the hurt is completely gone either, but knowing my responsibility is to grow closer to God is comforting.

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

I’m learning to listen more, talk less, serve more, know that living differently, loving much, using His butterfly effect is my best witness.

We meet them where they are, not excusing their sin, but loving them anyway as Christ first loved us.

But, I have to choose to spread my wings, letting people see His new creation in me, not let the world pressure me to look like them.

People who are ready, will see His butterfly effect in me. And for those who aren’t, I will plant a seed.

Save

Save

Save

The last 365: Saving Eliza

If you only read one entry of mine – read this one. If you only share one entry – share this one. If you never come back to Heaven Not Harvard, but we find a way to make a miracle, then God used me today and that is enough. If you are a blogger at all, please read to the end for a special challenge.

With all the kids heading back to school, it has really hit home that this is it. This is my last year of being home with my daughter all day, everyday. Next year she will be heading off to school. Our home and church won’t be her whole world anymore. She will have teachers, friends, and experiences of which I am not a part. Daddy and I will still be her most important people for a while, but those days are numbered as well. We are already being replaced by a tiny pig in “temporary” residence.

1544503_10202334006971616_974680681935303742_nSomewhere on Facebook (I can’t remember where) I saw a post that said, essentially, “someday my child will leave home and take her memory of me.”

I felt like that spoke to my heart in such a profound way. I was immediately humbled, taking a moment to really consider what memories will she take? Am I really giving her my best attention and focus despite the medical challenges and physical limitations? Who will I be in her mind? In her childish, imperfect memory, will I have gotten more things right than wrong? Will I have made sure to treasure every story, backrub, lengthy ridiculous excuse about why she cannot possibly go to bed right now? Am I parenting with intentionality?

I resolved to really spend this year making all the memories I can, and this post just ignited the passion to make every second count. My last 365 with my baby girl at home, I was teary-eyed thinking about it.

And then I was challenged by a friend to do the #sing2lines challenge for #savingeliza. This little girl is a friend of a friend’s friend, making her more than just a face on the screen. I had donated when I first heard of this cause and shared the links on my Facebook page. I follow their gofundme page www.savingeliza.com and remember to pray for her, but I get busy. Her story gets lost in my daily busyness. When it gets brought back across my mind, I am struck all over again by the horror of her disease.

Because, she is more than just a faceless cause, in her place, I see my daughter who is just a few months younger than Eliza. I feel the crushing weight of knowing that her parents are counting down the number of days Eliza will able to sing, dance, talk, breathe; they will  be counting the days until they watch her have seizure after seizure, knowing eventually she will die and it will be both heartbreaking and an end to her pain.

Laying in bed, snuggled up to my Lil Bit this morning, I read her father’s words about Eliza’s disease and sobbed.sing2lines

Last July, our 4-year-old daughter Eliza was diagnosed with a rare terminal genetic disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome-Type A. In one terrifying instant, we were told that we would have to watch her fade away before our eyes.

Eliza and other children with this disease are missing an essential enzyme for normal cellular function. Over time, a toxic material called heparan sulfate builds up in their brain and body leading to severe disability and death before they even reach their teens.   This disease affects both genders, all races, all countries and continents.  It is everywhere and the world needs to know.


Eliza Today and Her Future

Right now Eliza is a fun loving 4-year-old who loves to sing, run and MOST of all, cuddle. She loves to play dress up and horse around with her rowdy big brother Beckham. She is, however, beginning to show signs of the disease in her learning and attention. And if nothing changes, it will only get worse from here.

By age 6, most children with her disease have irreversible brain damage and lose the ability to speak. As the disease continues to tear through her brain and body, she will lose the ability to walk and eventually she won’t even be able to feed herself as seizures ravage her body.

I watch the video and see a beautiful, creative 4-year-old girl who has until she is 5 before her brain and body will begin to show permanent damage from the ravages of this syndrome.

Her parents are literally counting down their last 365 days with their baby girl being able to walk and sing. She may live a few years longer, but in increasing pain. This is the stuff of nightmares, but it is their reality.

They have been ferocious in raising money. But they are short around $700,000 from my understanding. In Ohio, a potential gene-therapy experimental treatment is waiting to clear FDA hurdles and raise the final funds to make Eliza’s miracle happen.

Her parents are doing everything they can to save their baby. Including start their own Facebook challenge. Across my newsfeed, the #ALSicebucketchallenge is taking over, which is amazing. They’ve raised over $15 million since it began. Last year in the same time frame, they raised $1.8. Awesome! If we can get just get everyone who sees this message to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or wherever – maybe we can reach $700,000. Seems like a modest goal compared to the $15 million doesn’t it?

Click on this link to see the origin of this challenge and news story about the family as of yesterday. Don’t miss seeing this little girl so full of wonderful preschooler energy.

http://www.rightthisminute.com/video/saving-eliza-launches-sing2lines-campaign

When I watched the video of her parents trying to decide if they should keep her baby toys in case she needs them again, I cried with them. When I listen to what will start to happen when she turns five, I shuddered. Wait – didn’t that say she is already 4 1/2?!? Her days are ticking down like the most hideous ‘Poe’esque clock, with a genetic sword swaying over her precious little golden head.

There are no words that accurately reflect how important raising awareness and funds are to me. We are donating as a family as we can, but our contribution feels like barely a drop in the bucket.

All I know is that the world will know were are Christians by our love, by our love – so I’m doing what little I can to love on this family.

I’ve posted her story and challenge all over Facebook, so much so FB started making me pass a human (captcha) test before posting. And I’m hoping, and I’m praying. So if you’ve read this far, I’m asking you to do three things 1)Donate! at www.savingeliza.com If everyone who read this post, donated a dollar, we’d have raised $15,000 so far. Please donate whatever you can. No amount is too small. 2)Do and share the #sing2lines challenge!!  3) share this post on your preferred social media – get this content to every inch of the globe!!!

If you’re a blogger or author, I’m issuing another challenge – reblog this. Share this post on your blog. I’ve only been doing this for a few months, so my following is small, but if you blog and your followers blog, we can keep this going long enough that Eliza never has to stop singing.

I hope you take a minute to donate, another to sing, and really do some soul searching today. How would you parent if you knew this was the last 365 days?

Our Jar: Sanctification of our lives

Sanctification is a beautiful process of how God cleans up the mess we've made of our lives, if we let him change what we pour into our lives.

Sanctification is a beautiful process of how God cleans up the mess we’ve made of our lives, if we let him change what we pour into our lives.

Watch this wonderful illustration about how prayer changes darkness in our lives when we open the gates wide and pray.

What a moving illustration about how God is pouring His light into us as we pray, changing our perspective in even the darkest circumstances.

Lately, I’ve had one issue weighing on my heart, sanctification: being transformed into holy beings. The challenge of sin and accountability in the modern body of believers is difficult because we have to balance love with obedience to God’s word.

I wrote about the process of sanctification earlier in my post The Race Set Before Us, and the struggles with judgment and criticism in Winning the Mommy Wars.

1 John 1:7 ESV  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Our fellowship with each other is important because we can support each other in the sanctification process. It is hard being the only person in a group to stand up for what is right.

In talks with my stepson, who has not accepted Christ yet, I share my faith. Partially, his concerns are about giving up the “fun” things in life. He is struggling with choosing Christ because of the intense peer pressure of high school and his fear of being the only one choosing not to swear or talk about sex.

I want to help him understand why I do choose to be different from the world even though, it is sometimes hard to stand for Christ.

I created this video to demonstrate my experiences in cleaning up my heart so sanctification isn’t such a mystery, being appropriately transparent so he sees that my need for God too.

I don’t want him to think this change in me is anything less than the miracle of Christ in my life.

I want my children to see my sanctification as the miracle of Christ in me that it is. Click To Tweet

Ephesians 5:8 ESV “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

We were talking about how to clean up our lives. He was overwhelmed by how daunting a task that seems.

Thanks to original sin, we humans start out pretty messy and only get worse through our contact with the world.

God wants to clean us up. He wants to set us apart for holy use, but are we preventing Him from doing that? Are we getting in our own way? I was.

What are we putting into our jar?

This video is an object lesson I created to show what we allow in our lives matters, whether it is friends, television, music or movies.

Are we filling ourselves with darkness faster than we’re filling ourselves with the light?

Hard to be sanctified when we're pouring in darkness faster than we're letting in His light. Click To Tweet

Some days, I feel weighed down by the abundance of worthless garbage the world pours into our lives. We live in the world; we can’t hide from it, but we can be more cautious about what we let in.

Philippians 4:8 ESV “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to know where to start. I decided to make one choice at a time, using Philippians 4:8 as my guide.

Sanctification is a step by step journey.

Instead of just eliminating worldly things, I started adding more Godly things: praise songs, praying, reading the Bible and listening to sermons.

I ran out of room for the world when I ran TO God, adding in good things like praise. Click To Tweet

The more good things I chose, the less the world appealed. In time, I became truly changed, more full of God’s light, hopefully a growing witness of God’s grace and love.

Matthew 5:16 ESV  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

What once felt like things I’d have to give up to be “in” with Jesus, were really weights keeping me from experiencing true freedom in Him.

I can’t make my children choose God, but I can live the JOY I have in letting go of the world.