The way.

Anyone else ever feel a little confused and uneasy? Have you asked God for guidance, direction, and understanding, but you just can’t hear His answer? Telling the Lord, “I need you to help me, show me, give me a sign, anything”, to the point of frustration? Well, you are not alone. I have been guilty of feeling frustrated at our Almighty Sovereign God. I know, I am ashamed, but thankfully God still loves me! I have learned in these moments that confusion and frustration are not from God.

So lately what I keep hearing in my spirit, in sermons, and even in songs is that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the key to it all, the way to salvation. “Jesus answered, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Well, I also believe in all our confusion and frustration, He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Everyone is searching for direction (the way) in life. We always like to know where we are going and how we are going to get there before we even begin. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if God literally gave us GPS commands that we could hear? Turn right here, take a left there, turn around, and when we lose our way, recalculating route? He does give us these directions and He recalculates our route when we don’t follow his path. It is just not as easy to hear Him. If it was, we would never take the time to seek Him, pray, and wait for His direction in faith. God doesn’t want us to lose our way or feel confused in what path to take. He just desires for His children to come to Him just like parents desire to hear from their own children. He will always prove to know what is best and help us to understand His way.

We all want the truth until it reveals something in us we may not like, or we don’t get the truth we think we desire. Jesus Himself is (the truth), in Him there is nothing false, He is one with God. When we doubt God or we feel panic and confusion in our situations, we really are not holding on to the truth, but our own flesh. We forget how God has always been with us in the past. All the times he showed us the truth that He is in control and knows what is best. He can calm the storms of life just like He did when the disciples panicked in the boat during the storm. Jesus instantly stopped the wind and waves, all the while the disciples thought they were going to die. They had lost their faith. When Jesus spoke, they were aware that the truth, Jesus, is all knowing and all powerful. When we face any situation, confused or not, we will not have the truth until we have heard from Him.

One of the main things we want is to live a life that lasts forever. Jesus is (the Life) and through our belief in Him, we will have an eternal life, but not on this earth. We get confused and think we want to stay here forever, but that’s not the point. We are here for just a moment and while we are here, we are to carry out the work of the Lord. Jesus gave us the example of a perfect life as he faced temptations and the same situations that we do. When we feel confusion and frustration, we need to remember that this life is not about us. God wants us to follow the example of Jesus and spread His gospel to the whole earth. If we truly seek to serve Him our desire will be to do just that.

He’s the parent

This past week my oldest had his wisdom teeth removed. If you saw his Snapchat story I don’t know if I should say I’m sorry or you’re welcome.

If you know you know.

I digress. He had his teeth removed on a Wednesday and that Friday the high school that he used to attend had their homecoming – and if you are from the great state of Texas you know what a big deal that is.

Of course he wanted to go, but in good conscience I just couldn’t let him. Not only is it an hour drive away – the kid is totally crazy at ball games. All the yelling and all the cheering. I just knew in my momma’s heart that he couldn’t go. I didn’t want him to overdo it too soon after surgery.

And it killed me for him to have to miss it.

Luckily, he’s a pretty good kid. He trusted my choice and my reasoning. He knew I was trying to protect him from getting sick or hurt after surgery. He didn’t question me or cry or whine.

That’s what God does for His kiddos, too. He looks out for our best interest. He protects us from getting hurt. He puts a stop to situations that could end not so well.

The thing is I need to be more like Maverick. I need to be more trusting of God’s path for me. Shamefully, I am more of the whining, crying, and questioning type. When I want to think my plan is the best I need to remember to open up my Bible. Story after story after story clearly paints a picture of what happens when humans want to do things their way.

We need to trust God.

We need to seek His will.

We need to let Him be the parent.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

When I am weak

With high school football, and other sports in full swing, are you cheering and bragging about your favorite team or player? Do you boast with pride about your sports team? What about when they aren’t doing so well? Are you quieter?

What do you boast about? Do  you want everyone to know about your failures and struggles? Do you brag about them?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:9-10) This is the Mary Staggs Version of that verse: God’s favor, approval, mercy & forgiveness is all I need. God’s power works best when I am weak, stumped, discouraged, hurt, and humbled. So now let me tell everyone with a smile  about my failures, struggles, and fears, so that the mighty power of Christ – the creator of the universe –  the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and amazingly lives in me can work through me! That’s why I can, (but don’t always smile) when I’m weak, mess up, when I’m insulted, when things are hard, or when troubles overtake me. Because in my weakest moment I can be strong! What? In any temptation, trial, sickness, grief, or struggle – not me, not my brain, not my heart, not my friends, my parents or my upbringing, but my Savior is strong in me.

Listen up, HE IS MIGHTY, I (we) just need to get out of the way. God uses my struggles to get me out of the way so HE can work. It’s all about HIM. It’s about making HIS name great. It’s about others seeing God do things we cannot do ourselves. HE does it way better than I can even imagine. “Humble yourself under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up. (1 Peter 5:6) The next verse is my favorite. I’ve taught it to all my preschoolers for the last 40 years: Give all your worries and cares to God, for HE cares about you! GOD CARES FOR YOU!

He is not worried about what you have or don’t have, your size, your age, your education, your hair color, your race, where you work, or  your bank account. HE just wants my heart.

There is nothing that can separate me from God’s love,  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) He is strong in my weakness! Now that is something to brag about.

Brag on Jesus today, be glad (the joy of the Lord is your strength) and let others see Jesus through you!

Dupe.

You are not a dupe.

My sisters are probably shaking their heads in shame right now as I openly admit that I went to the Urban Dictionary for the correct and cool meaning of said word.

Dupe.

Duplicate.

Not an original.

You are none of those things. God made you, designed you, created YOU with His own two hands, and you can bet your bottom dollar that He is beyond proud of His work – of YOU.

You’re not an accident.

You’re not an afterthought.

And you’re certainly not [her].

You are you.

You are His.

And you are destined for great things.

Sister, all you’ve got to do is believe it.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Kate’s Cause Continued

I remember the day the doctor told me my diagnosis like it was yesterday. My mom went with me to the appointment. When the doctor gave us the news she immediately called my dad and siblings who quickly met us at the house. Not a lot of words were said between all of us at that moment, but I remember just being glad that they were with me while I nervously folded clothes that should have been put away days before.

I didn’t sleep much that night. Instead, I laid in bed and just prayed and asked God why I was going through this. The next morning I woke up with a peace that I cannot explain. I was no longer scared, and I was ready to get a plan and face this head on. From the very first day of finding out that I had cancer – having my family and friends’ support and prayers meant the world to me. Through every step – from my first appointment, chemo treatments, and shaving my head – them being there meant so much to me.

I wanted to find a way to do that for others, so while I was going through treatment I looked for a way to help. I started volunteering with a group called Cowboys Who Care. This group brings cowboy hats to children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. During my time with them, I was able to bring children going through cancer treatment to rodeos and give them a fun experience during a hard time in their life.

During my first few appointments, I was told how my treatment should go and was given the option to have fertility preservation done before starting my treatment. I was fortunate enough to be able to do this because of the support system that I have. I will even have my identical twin sister be my surrogate when I am ready for a family of my own (seriously, how blessed am I??). During this time, I learned many women would not be able to do because of the financial burden.

This is why I began Kate’s Cause. I believe that no women should have to sacrifice having a family to have the treatment that will save her life. I want to be able to offer the support that I was given to as many women as I can!

I truly believe that God gives us hard times so that we can be a light for someone else going through a similar situation. Although these times were hard for me, I never felt that He was not by my side. I believe that he showed this so much through the compassion and support of the people He placed in my life. I am thankful for my experiences because I believe that it has given me such a different perspective. I am now able to give some of the love I received back to others.

Turn it off

Turn it off.

Seriously. Turn it all off.

The news. The media. The worry.

The drama. The comparison. The opinions.

It’s all too much.

You owe it to yourself and to your family to unplug and unwind. Put it on the calendar if you have to – just make it a priority.

Sister, it’s ok to take a break so that you don’t break.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

Let’s Agree

We need to come together.

Our nation.

Our community.

Our church.

Our home.

We need to come together – instead of continuously severing ties with one another because of opinions, misunderstandings, or even disagreements.

We can disagree without totally disengaging. We can disagree without devastating relationships. A disagreement doesn’t have to be detrimental. It can simply be a disagreement.

All this disagreeing is causing division.

In our nation.

In our community.

In our church.

In our homes.

And the devil loves it.

So today let’s agree to hold our tongues when need be. Let’s agree to speak the truth in love when need be. Let’s agree to listen. Let’s agree to see other people where they are at. To be compassionate and sympathetic and empathetic and kind.

Let’s.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15

Waiting

Guest Post by Dianne Timberlake

The Father is watching and waiting…

Luke 15 is a love story straight from our Lord. In this passage, Jesus tells us three parables with the central theme that God loves us and is moving to redeem the lost.

The parable of the lost son (prodigal son) is my favorite because it is also my story. It is the story of all redeemed sinners. I was lost, but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see. I have a Savior who reached down from heaven and washed my sin away with His precious blood. Amazing grace! Amazing love! Luke 15 tells us of a sinner coming to saving grace.

A man had two sons. The youngest demanded his share of his father’s estate and then spent it all in DISOBEDIENCE in another land. God sent (or allowed) a famine to come to that land, and the young man began to be in NEED. (It’s amazing what a little famine in our lives can do for our thinking.) 

The young man CAME TO HIS SENSES and remembered that his father’s hired men ate better than the pigs he was feeding (and whose food he was contemplating). He ran to tell his father that HE HAD SINNED against him and to ask for a job as a hired man.

The best part! The father saw him from a long way off and ran to hug and kiss his lost son who was coming home at last. The father had been watching and waiting. He didn’t rebuke the son or hire him to work in the fields. The father had compassion and REDEEMED THE LOST SON. In fact, he had a welcome back party. He gave the son a robe, a ring, and sandals to establish his position in the family. (The older brother wasn’t too thrilled. In fact, he was bitter and jealous, but that’s a story for another day.)

Our Lord is still watching and waiting for the lost to come home. His Holy Spirit is stirring and convicting even today. He may send/allow some tough times to encourage the lost to seek Him, but there is no sin that He will not forgive (except denying that Jesus is the Son of God sent to save the lost). Our Heavenly Father is not waiting with a big stick or a stern lecture. He is patiently waiting to forgive and redeem lost souls. Run home! The Father loves you and is watching and waiting to bring you back into His family.

I see you

Hey Educator.

I see you.

I see you walking into a war zone every single day. A war zone full of germs, opinions, budget constraints, and laws made by humans sitting in an office hundred of miles away.

I see you risking your health and your sanity. I see the ever changing guidelines. The emails. The unknown.

I see the long hours. The late nights. The lesson plans that will no longer work because of a change in protocol.

But most of all I see you loving those babies. I see you teaching your heart out. I see you risking it all. And I see you not giving up.

I see you trying to keep life as normal as possible for these kiddos in a very abnormal situation.

Because you love what you do.

Because you love them.

Because this is who you are.

I see you.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Sing over Me

Guest Post by Mrs. Mary Staggs

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing”

Have any of you every rocked their babies or grandbabies and sang to them – especially if they are crying and tired?

If you know me, you know I love babies. I love being Nana, and I love your babies, too. I think the most peaceful and comforting thing for me is to rock my babies and sing to them. Praying over them, asking God to comfort them, to give them opportunities to succeed, and to love God and know Him personally.  

I have also always enjoyed hearing my husband sing to our kids and our grandbabies; his beautiful comforting voice is a gift. Now I even get to hear my kids sing to our grandbabies. That is a blessing! Whether it’s a made up song or an old Hymn – it brings a soothing comfort.

As long as I can remember I loved climbing into my daddy’s lap. Even as a grown woman with kids of my own, I would gently lay in my daddy’s lap in his chair when I came to visit. I don’t remember him singing but he would hum, talk, and maybe tell me a story.

I memorized his hands – they seemed gigantic to me. I knew they were strong. They worked hard. I never saw them as dirty even though they were in fact oil and grease stained, often cracked and dry. But to me they represented safety, love, and provision.

The Lord loves us more than I love my babies, and more than my daddy loved me. God wants me to allow Him to sing over me, rest in His love and His safety, to be calmed by His still small voice, and His word that is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path! Psalms 119:105 (I was always afraid of the dark…)

I don’t know about you but there are days I still feel like that little girl – afraid, tired, cranky, insecure, and hopeless. But my Father God wraps His love around me and sings over me – refreshing my soul. He gives me hope, peace, and joy to face the next minute!

Sisters and brothers, allow the creator of the universe, who knows everything about you, who gave His only son for you – to rejoice over you. Spend time with Him. He loves you. Be quiet and rest in His peace.

Please if you don’t have a personal relationship with HIM, ask someone how to find that peace, that joy, and that strength in the midst of the world we live in.

Remember, God cares for you…1 Peter 5:7 and so do I.