Holes

Society has been frustrating lately. News articles, Facebook feeds, radio talk and dinner conversations are filled with tragic topics. I generally avoid them because it is too hard to think about. Plus, I don’t need that negativity in my life.

There is a story in Mark chapter 6 that clearly depicts my relationship with Jesus at times. After a long day of ministry, people were hungry. “Send the people away so they can buy themselves something to eat,” said the disciples.

Jesus blows my mind with nothing profound. He simply says, “ You give them something to eat.”

These men were caring and had compassion for their hunger which is great, but they wanted someone else to do the job.

Our world is falling apart. We often complain about a situation and expect someone to do something. I want to ask, why not you?
We get caught up in doing something great but the more I live life, the more I see the importance of the small and overlooked.

I want to challenge you to fill a hole in some of the most uncommon places. When the grocery carts are in parking spaces, take a moment to collect and put them away. When a place is filled with trash, put your complaints aside and pick it up. If someone is hungry, feed them. If a family is hurting, go out of your way to see them through it.

As Christians, we aren’t called to stay away from the negativity. In fact, I think we are called to be right in the middle of it. Negativity will only be combatted by acts of positivity. Along with praying for change, pick up a shovel and fill in some holes.

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Fish

“Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.”

  -Mark 1: 17

I’m no fisherman, but Jesus knew who he was speaking to when He gave these instructions. You see, these men were on the job and knew the trade well.

Around the world are many different styles of fishing. Each requires a unique method and bait. Depending on the species, depth of water, and other various factors will determine the approach to be used. A major variable lies within the fisherman himself. Some do it for a living, others for sport. Both have a purpose and that is to catch some fish.

Jesus wanted these men to share the gospel with others. He didn’t seem to give much instruction because they were the experts, even if they didn’t know it yet. All the tools they needed were already within themselves because they had been doing it for years.

Commercial fishermen aim to capture in bulk. They often throw out a net and have the ability to capture many at a time, similar to what a pastor does as he speaks to the congregation. Whereas a retired individual at a nearby creek is equally important for he may reach the scarce and often overlooked.

Each of us is also called to fish. To share the gospel with others but not as fishermen, as whatever YOU are. Often times, we focus too much on another’s calling, not realizing that He has given us our own set of instructions. The goal is the same but the method should be unique.

Ready…Go Fish.

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Freckles

I cannot keep up with the beauty industry. Instead of pulling out our own, they push to mold us into their idea of what beauty is. The worst part is; we fall for it every time.

Those with brown eyes want blue, people with blue eyes want the tan skin. People with tan skin want to be lighter, shall I go on?

Growing up I had a friend who was absolutely GORGEOUS. The kind we admire. She hated her freckles though and would use makeup to cover them up. I never understood why but have issues of my own.

My hair is crazy frizzy and wild. The flat iron has become a dear friend. It’s used 2-3 times per week and takes about an hour each time. Approximately twelve hours a month, one hundred forty-four hours a year have been wasted on trying to force this hair to be something it is not.

Our idea of beauty is far too narrow. Blotches, dark circles, stretch marks, frizzy hair, freckles, uneven skin, cellulite, and tan lines, are less than ideal; but should never give others the power to set the standard of what beauty is.

Sure, admire someone’s beauty but the moment it is used to criticize yourself is when you stop. No one in the world is exactly like you. Since freckles are here, why not connect the dots and make something beautiful.

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Baby Fever

Babies are popping out everywhere. Social media is filled with photos of tiny humans. First birthdays, first steps, first everything.

I imagine it’s not all cute because there are friends willing to expose the reality of being a parent. Sleepless nights, disgusting diaper stories and the feeling of not knowing what to do.

I wonder what that would be like.

When my husband and I got married, we decided to wait a year before starting a family. It has been three.

While I wait for a baby, many wait for a spouse. Some of you with children wait for a quiet moment, others for a job opportunity. This is real life people. Full of unfulfilled expectation.

I wish I had answers but don’t. Thoughts of jealousy, judgment and anger may cross our minds,however, it is our decision to feel sorry for ourselves or genuinely be happy for those living their moments. I choose the latter.

Through this, I have learned that my purpose in life cannot lie solely within these wants. A title of parent, friend, spouse, teacher, home- owner or rocket scientist may all fade one day. Your character and the way you handle life will not.

For now, I will enjoy my sleep and appreciate the relationships I am blessed to have.

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Umbrella

In a world filled with things, umbrellas are objects most people don’t give much thought. They can be used to protect people from rain and may also provide shade. Other than that, they are just umbrellas.

One day a bearded man went to buy ten of these seemingly inanimate objects. Without knowing who they were for or if they would be needed, he wanted to be prepared.

Driving through town, he noticed drops of rain begin to fall on the windshield. At just about the same time, a woman and young boy caught his attention. They were walking fast-paced, trying to avoid getting rained on. The man pulled over and handed the woman an umbrella.

There is nothing profound about this story. A man bought an umbrella and gave it to a lady. Somehow, though, in its simplicity, I find hope.

Earlier that day, he heard the forecast, which predicted rain. Instead of merely going about his day, he thought of others. These ten umbrellas will have ten different stories all of which will include this one bearded man.

Be someone’s bearded man. Use the overlooked objects around you to brighten someone’s day. You never know who is having a rainy day.

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6 Things I Wish I knew in my early 20’s

I spend much of my time with college age people. I sit back and watch them struggle with identity, love, breakups, financial struggles and a lot of anxiety. Within a couple of months, I will turn twenty-nine. Looking back to my early twenties, there are some tips I wish someone had shared with me.

Learn to love yourself
Other than improving some character flaws and getting healthier, there are not many things you can change about yourself. Learn to appreciate the quirks and imperfections because they are what make you unique.

Let go of past hurts in relationships
Carrying around guilt, shame and bitterness will only keep you from opening your heart to have healthy relationships in your future. If you were the cause of the break-up, learn to forgive yourself.

Forgive your parents
It took me years to realize that I was still angry for some of the decisions my parents made when I was a child. Now that I am older, I realize how easy it is to make some of those same mistakes. Cut them some slack and make memories with them.

Get rid of expectations
Life usually doesn’t go as planned. We place expectations on others and ourselves that are often unrealistic. I am not saying to settle; I am encouraging you to learn to change and make room for a plan B, C, D…..

Start a savings account
Learning to plan for your future is very important. Weddings, engagement rings, houses, cars and everyday things cost money. If you want any of these things in the future, why not plan ahead? You will never regret having extra money.

It’s ok to feel a little lost
We grow and change as people but don’t always realize it. I felt like such a failure because things weren’t the way I wanted them to be “right now.” You are building a future, and that takes time.

Hey. It’s going to be okay. I promise.

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Brick Wall

Construction started at the age of six with news of my parent’s divorce. Uncertainty and confusion left me wondering if love was real.

The search began. To feel wanted, accepted, and secure. The easiest way was through a boy. He liked me and made me feel important. Until I wasn’t anymore and he found someone better. This happened over and over and over.With each rejection, lie, or disappointment, I picked up a brick, laid down some mortar, and started to build a wall.

It took years to let someone in. I finally opened my heart only to have it broken worse than before. I sat in tears ready to lay another brick but realized how lonely I had become. The wall that had once made me feel safe had turned into a prison, keeping anyone from getting in or out. I distanced myself from friends, family, and even God.

I don’t know what your bricks represent. They may be part of who you are but they don’t have to keep you from having meaningful relationships. I can almost guarantee that you will get let down by others and you will do the same. Choose to open up anyway.

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Your Dream

I was recently inspired hearing a story about a man in his sixties going sky-diving. There was nothing getting in the way of this man living his life to the fullest, so I started to think of my own unfulfilled dreams.

Traveling the world was something I always wanted to do. Once I started paying bills, though, reality set in on how much it costs. There will always be reasons not to do something. Whether it is a trip you can’t afford, a job you aren’t qualified for or dreams with too many obstacles.

Instead of limiting your opportunity, try to find a way. You may not have the money for a vacation now but set up a savings plan. You may not be qualified for a certain position, but work hard to learn. As for your dreams, figure out what is keeping you from making them a reality.

Think about the one thing you have always wanted to do. Set up a plan and go for it.

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A Little Bird

A Little Bird

A little bird told me that your uncle’s third aunt twice removed on your mother’s side said, that you said, I was stuck up.

Rumors. It is very easy to get caught up in listening to and sharing stories about others. I cannot tell you how many relationships are ruined before they even get started. We don’t realize that in gossiping about one person to another, we are painting a picture.

If someone shares details about their life and you take it upon yourself to re-share without their permission, not only do you lose credibility, you also become known as the person who can’t keep a secret.

Don’t be that bird.

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Spotlight

Imagine you’re sitting in a crowded room, when suddenly the lights go down and a spotlight is pointed directly at you. Some would get a kick out of having the attention, but most people hate the thought.

Mark 4:22 says:”For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.”

This verse was intimidating because I have hidden secrets. Things I am ashamed of and would never want anyone to know. This verse scared me. I pictured my secrets being revealed and being viewed as a fake. So I hid.

I learned something; as long we are hiding the pieces of us that are filthy, we end up hiding the good, too. Light not only reveals yucky parts, it also reveals beauty, hidden talents, gifts and other amazing things that no one knows.

It is important to challenge ourselves without putting ourselves down. Insecurities cause judgment, envy causes gossip, unchecked bitterness leads to hate, and the list goes on and on. Once these things are brought into the light and are dealt with, the best parts of you will shine.

It’s not all about us, though, that is only the beginning. Once we learn to think past ourselves, God will use every part of who we are to show Jesus to the rest of the world. Jesus is that light and the closer we get to Him, the clearer things get.

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