Authentically Imperfect

There is so much I want to say. So many thoughts and feelings and emotions running through me. I’m not entirely sure where to start. The beginning is usually suggested at this point. But the beginning is so fuzzy and multi-faceted.

This may be a similar call out, cry of my heart, post as my Letter to the Church. And while there may be some similarities, there are major differences too. So bare with me while I fumble out my thoughts, desires, feelings, etc.

I found out recently that statistically speaking, the West Coast and Pacific Northwest are the most unchurched population in the United States. Sadly enough, I was not altogether surprised by that.

Normally I like the “why” behind everything. Today, I’m not going to touch that. Because I want to get to Revival. It starts somewhere. Some have sung about how it starts on our knees before God. Some have said it begins in the heart. Or it starts with an individual.

I think all of this is true. The older I get the more I realize that things are not “black and white”, life is not “this or that”. Every aspect of who we are and what we do, as individuals and the body of Christ (the Church), is so diversely layered. It’s simply wrong to say that these are the steps to take to achieve this result.

Today, at this moment, I believe that one of the most important things we need to do as God’s kids, is to do what He has called us to do. He has given us jobs, so-to-speak, to equip the saints, some as pastors, some as teachers, some as apostles, etc. I believe that if we focus on our job, doing what God has called us to do, and do it with love and passion for Jesus. The love and passion we have for Jesus should not create a feeling of drudgery or duty or “have to”. I really believe that God is good, that His love creates joy and passion, and THAT is just as contagious as the “have to” attitude.

So, what if we focused on loving Jesus instead of “doing” Jesus? Does that make sense?

If we focus on loving Jesus and doing what He has asked us to do, then we unintentionally and intentionally impact others. Ths impact (hopefully) spurs them on to do the same.

When we do this, we end up becoming a well-oiled machine. Or rather the BODY OF CHRIST. Think about the body. It has so many different functions that are vital to life, yet it still works as a collective unit. If God’s kids truly functioned as the Body of Christ, then we could have Revival.

Everyone has a different role in the body – we can’t all be hands and feet – we wouldn’t get anywhere. Some of us are meant to be the eyes, the mouth, the internal organs. Meditate on that for a little while, really examine what your role is.

Too often I have felt guilt or shame for not be an “evangelist”. But an evangelist doesn’t fit into a box. We’re all individuals, and we have different ways of doing things. That’s the beauty of being a collective unit. And along the same note, I wasn’t created to, or asked to be a missionary in the “boxy” sense we of the word. I wasn’t called to go to Peru’s jungles, find indigenous people and tell them about Jesus.

I have a different calling than you, and you, and you, and you. Which is not only good, but necessary and useful and right.

Let us individually love Jesus as an authentically imperfect, collective unit.

Andi.


Faithfulness

Faithfulness is a loyal steadfastness of trust. God is the ultimate example of truthfulness.

God’s faithful in all His ways.

Psalm 33:4

So what is a Biblical perspective of faithfulness?
As Christians, how faithful are we? –
I think it begins with trusting God and remaining loyal to what God’s Word says. Each believer in Jesus Christ begins with faith. Isn’t that so much easier to say than do? Oh, how we like to complicate things, yet when we come back around to the truth of His Word, we have this gentle reminder…

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

Although it is by grace that we are saved and not by works, faithfulness in itself is not just a thought or an idea, it is something that needs to be followed by action. We don’t just, by faith, believe in Jesus, and then simply do nothing.  As a Christian we should choose to be Christ-like in our actions and even in our thoughts. Faithfulness lies in our loyalty to trust in God’s promises and will for our lives. In that process, God influences our relationships. It overflows into who we become. His faithfulness helps lead us in confidence as we bear the fruit of it.

So what could an abundance of faithfulness look like in our lives? Personally, I have found that to trust and rely on God produces stability in my life. As I carry an inner peace that only Jesus can provide, I pray often that others can see God in my own faithfulness, not only my faithfulness to God, but to those who God has laid in my path to be a trustworthy part of their life. So how can we live out this loyal steadfastness of trust? Obviously, we can’t and won’t be perfect in application, yet I think as we open ourselves to totally trust God, we can seek answers. Part of being faithful is to list our commitments, acknowledge our part in it, and to begin to evaluate our actions in being faithful…
to our beliefs,
to our relationships,
and yes, even to ourselves.

When we choose to align to God’s will, it allows the peace, love, and power to grow more in faithfulness. This faithfulness helps lead you in confidence, which in turn, provides an inner peace with a total trust in God. So I challenge you to create a list of ways to be faithful to God’s purpose in your life. Read, pray, worship, seek your why… and then choose to live that faithfulness out loud. I dare you.


Goodness

Hey there, Beauty. How are you doing?

If we were having a real conversation or passing by in the store, how many of you would have answered, “Good”? And how many of you would have just been saying that from habit?

The word ‘good’ and all versions of have been worn down, used out of context, used incorrectly, and honestly, don’t mean very much in our society. But when you stop to ponder what is good, and who is good, and I mean really ponder. You can find yourself spinning in a web of questions far beyond the basic “good vs evil” that almost instantaneously comes to mind.

Good is neither great nor terrible. At first thought it doesn’t appear to be elaborate or profound in describing anything. But as I began to pursue goodness as a piece of the Fruit of the Spirit, I found that it is quite wonderful.

Scripture is absolutely littered with goodness.

Psalms 119:68 You are good and do only good; teach me Your decrees.

From the very beginning, it was good, all of it. Genesis 1

Just about every other Psalm talks about God’s goodness.

Proverbs itself is an entire book in the Bible devoted to teaching how to live a good and righteous life.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

The Gospel, or Good News is the very foundation of the Christian faith.

To be good is, as the original Greek puts it, to be inherently good. From the depths of your life, from your heart, right down to the core. Enter in, my all time go to verse, Proverbs 4:23Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. If we desire to live a “good” life, then we must be certain that what we are putting in is good. And where does goodness come from, except the Lord. I believe that the Bible backs up this statement tenfold.

Take some time to really reflect and meditate on what is good, who is good, why is good.

Upon my own time meditating on goodness I discovered that it’s not such a colorless word. It’s really quite extraordinary, because simply put, God is good. He is good all the time. And for me, any word that is used to describe God is anything but bland.

May His goodness be reflected in your heart and life.


Kindness Matters

In a world that often screams stress, anxiety, depression, and anger at us, kindness becomes a beacon of hope for humanity. Kindness is more than just being nice. It’s serving. It’s serving beyond just being polite. It’s an inner demeanor which the Holy Spirit provides that reflects what’s in our heart.

Do you struggle with being kind? We all have our days, don’t we? Sometimes we just feel too busy or overwhelmed to bother ourselves with kindness. It’s in those very moments that we need to seek wisdom from God…

Luke 6:35 (totally paraphrased)
Love your enemies. Do good. Expect nothing in return.

Why? Because the God of the universe has offered the same to us!!

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve 
or repay us according to our iniquities.”
Psalm 103:10

“Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32

Oh, I get it. It’s hard to be kind when all around you others are seemingly ungrateful, often self-seeking, and even rude at times. That doesn’t mean we need to be part of the problem when the solution is so simple.

Be kind anyways.

Dear Sisters, I challenge you to take an intent look around your circumstance. At the people you work with, the people you live with, the people you do life around. Maybe it’s co-workers or a boss, a room mate, a spouse, your kids, and yes, even the strangers who pass you by on a daily basis! Guess what?! You have the power to make the world you live in be just a little bit better of a place! Your demeanor sets the tone for your environment. So don’t wait for someone to deserve your kindness but rather let the Holy Spirit help guide you to produce true kindness towards those around you.

People treasure kindness.

Think about the Pay It Forward movement, or when buying Coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop that leads to a whole line buying for the next person in line. Can you remember a time that someone offered you a random act of kindness? I’m not even talking about the bigger things that I can personally think of like when someone paid our water bill when we were threatened with it getting shut off during a rough season in life, or the church paying our mortgage for a month while we got back on our feet, or the random stranger who paid for fairly nice dinner for my big family at a restaurant on Christmas Eve during a particularly emotional year. Those things are amazing and made a huge impression on me and those around me; however, it’s the small things that can also have a big impact as well. Patience at the check out, letting someone merge into your lane, a friendly smile, holding the door open for someone, returning a cart to the cart return for that busy mom of littles, helping load up groceries for an elderly person, offering water to that homeless person…

In a society that needs more hope, how are you going to choose to be more intentional to offer kindness? We can make a difference. So go ahead, take that extra mile, bless others, and make the world a better place.


Patience

It’s often joked about in Christian circles not to pray for patience. We say this for our own comfort because we know that when we ask for a trait, God often teaches us through object lessons. And because we’re being honest with ourselves, we know we don’t want to be put through a trial for something like patience.

We totally make excuses for having a lack of patience. “What’s the big deal I get agitated in traffic? Everyone does.” “So what I tap my foot in irritation and sigh audibly when someone is taking too long to order their coffee? It’s not as if they heard me anyway.” “It’s no big thing if I’m a little short with the cashier; after all, can’t she see I’m in a rush!?”

Hitting close to home? Jog your memory of how you are impatient throughout your day? (And, yes, I would say getting frustrated with technology counts).

These seem like obvious, no brainer impatient moments. Your “typical” impatience.

So then, if there is a typical impatience does that mean that there is an atypical impatience? Or perhaps it’s an impatience we don’t fully understand nor often recognize.

Impatience with God.

At the core of impatience I see a lack of grace and a lack of trust. A heartitude (attitude in the heart) as my husband and I tell our daughters. When we have a lack of patience with our situation we ultimately are saying we disagree with or don’t trust God. I make this conclusion because there is a level of peace that happens when we are fully trusting and relying on God that can ease all those daily agitations and annoyances and issues.

This is so hard!

Have you ever prayed for something for so long and not seen any answers in the way that you’re praying? I have. For years I have prayed and seen essentially nothing. Or at least, what I perceived as nothing. No answer from God, maybe one step forward but then two steps back, no lasting positive change. Can you say disheartening!?

I came to a place where I was impatient of waiting for change; I became angry with God; I wasn’t trusting His process.

I have learned that when I am feeling impatience in situations I’m generally focused on the world portion not the spiritual portion. I’m focusing on my own time table and not trusting in God’s.

So what should we do when we have reached impatience, when we stop trusting, when we have forgotten grace? Lean in. Bring whatever it is you have to God. Even if it’s as little as, “God…” Remember that He will use faith the size of a mustard seed (which isn’t much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence) to move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Hang in there girl, I’ve been there, and God does hear even when all seems gone, lost and hopeless.

Here are some verses to meditate on:

Romans 5:3-5

Galatians 5:22-25

2 Peter 3:9

Psalm 40:1

May our God, who is always good, dwell richly in your heart, dear sister.


Peace

‘Peace helps you not fall to pieces.’
Words of wisdom from my 17 yr old daughter.
Is this true for you?

FRUIT Of THE SPIRIT:  PEACE

Many people who visit our home find a sense of peace in our living environment.  Not by outer circumstances, but rather more by our inner demeanor.  I’m going to admit that being called to write about peace has been a struggle.  I even tried to pass it off on my ministry partner.  I know I have peace, but to explain the how behind it seems too simplified.

Know Jesus, Know Peace.
No Jesus, no peace.

Peace isn’t something you create on the outside, but rather it’s something you accept on the inside.  It’s recognizing Jesus’ presence in the midst of anything.  I have personally found this to be true.  Through years of childhood trauma, in the dramatic teen years, during the turbulent years of my marriage, and while choosing the chaotic life of raising 6 kids.  It’s really about choosing peace in the process.  It’s about accepting Jesus for who He says He is.

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

Peace is not an emotion but an inner calmness that God offers through the Holy Spirit in the face of storms, trials, and in our daily life… when we reflect our actions to God’s Word and choose to submit our will to God’s leading.  I recognize that this is sometimes a difficult task, especially when we are facings struggles, enduring hurts, unsure about the future, and dealing with doubts.  This is where faith steps in.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

After all, how do we choose to promote peace but by action and attitude?  Let’s let our behavior reflect the influence of God in our lives.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18

So I challenge you today to choose grace, display patience, and allow peace… in regard to others as well as towards yourself.  “Seek PEACE and pursue it!” Psalms 34:14b

 


Seasons of a Tree

A good tree produces good fruit; a bad tree produces bad fruit. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” are true believers. You will be known by your fruit.

Yet, trees are not always producing fruit. There is a time for growth, for soaking in nutrients and a time for rest. Growth leads to fruit, fruit leads to needing nutrients, storing nutrients leads to rest, and rest allows the tree to once again grow and flourish.

There is a season when the Gardener will prune and weed and trim and whack and dig and uproot. While these may seem like traumatizing, destroying actions the Gardener actually has the trees best interest in mind. He sees the potential of the tree and must make decisions that will allow the tree to grow to its fullness. He may even prune branches that are producing good fruit in order to redirect growth to the branches that are the best and will yield the most abundant fruit. The Gardener may also prune fruit bearing branches because He sees how vast the tree has spread, and perhaps if it’s spread so thin the quantity of fruit may be much but the quality is not much.

If we look at the different seasons of a tree we can see four distinct times, just like our climate. Expanding on what I mentioned above, let’s look briefly at those four seasons. There is a time for growth, when we begin to see the life within the tree show itself to the world (spring). There is a time for produce and fruit, when others are blessed by the abundance of the tree (summer). There is a time when the tree begins to shed its outer appearance, so that the inward may soak up the nutrients needed for the next season (autumn). And there is a time when what you see on the outside of the tree is no reflection of what is happening within, this is a time of rest and hibernation for the tree (winter).

As I look over the past several years of my life I see this pattern of seasons. I was most recently enjoying my summer season; fall came and past quickly, and this winter seems to be the worst I have ever experienced. But I have been reminded in this moment that my Gardener has my best interest in mind, there is a reason for this winter, and one day, one glorious day, spring will come. Life will return to my heart and soul. Color and beauty will once again be a part of me. Until then, I must remember that God’s Word is true, powerful, the most important weapon I have, and needs to be louder than any other voice.

May the Lord reveal His truths to you in your season. May He grant you peace, satisfaction, understanding, and hope where ever you are in your journey.