Saying Yes In My Mess

Today is a BIG day. My friend, Kristen over at We Are THAT Family is launching her new book, Rhinestone Jesus – Saying YES to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough.

“In high school, Kristen wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow: much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true reflection of who she was.

Real life and motherhood catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined. There came a day when she stood in the slums of Africa, poised on the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken. And she knew she didn’t stand a chance – unless she was ready to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing.

Rhinestone Jesus is the spiritual adventure story of one woman who went from living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say YES to a deeper, more authentic way.”

Through stories about life as a high school student, her (sometimes difficult) marriage, the hum-drum mundane days of motherhood, and a blogger, Kristen takes us on her journey. As a Compassion International Blogger, Kristen was invited to travel to Kenya where her heart and life was forever changed. After returning home feeling empty and broken, Kristen woke up from the American Dream, and said YES to an unbelievable God-sized dream called Mercy House.

I love that Kristen keeps it real in Rhinestone Jesus. She is quick to admit that her family is far from perfect – even talking about days filled with puke, poop, drama, and bad attitudes (which makes her seem like my BFF) but even through the crazy – in the middle of her messy life as wife and mother, she slowly discovers that God doesn’t require us to get our act together before revealing His God-sized dream, rather He is just waiting for us to say YES IN OUR MESS, wherever we are. Right now.

As a result of her YES – through obedience and love – her family continually strives to glorify the Lord in all that they do. At the end of each chapter, Welch offers reflections and personal challenges for readers – ideas for nurturing our families, serving as a family, and being centered on Christ in all things. She encourages Christians to seek the Lord, and say YES to whatever He is calling them to do, no matter how big, small or messy it may seem.

Rhinestone Jesus has left me wondering what I should be doing. I’m not sure what my YES looks like, and chances are your YES will look different from my YES. But this I know: One small yes can lead to BIG things. God isn’t waiting on us to get our marriage in order, our kids to be perfect, or to keep a neater house. He is simply waiting for us to say YES to Him, right in the middle of the mound of laundry, the toothpaste covered bathroom sink and the LEGO covered floor.

YES.

In the middle of our mess.

It’s that easy.

——

And speaking of easy… You can win a copy of Rhinestone Jesus by simply leaving a comment on this post. Two winners will be chosen by Random Dot Org on Monday, May 5th at 9:00 PM EST.

About the Author” Kristen Welch writes the parenting blog, We are THAT Family (you know the ones). She is an (in)courage writer, a Compassion International blogger, and a regular featured contributor to LifeWay’s HomeLife and ParentLife magazines. In 2010, Kristen founded Mercy House, a nonprofit maternity home in Kenya, Africa, which rescues young pregnant girls from extreme poverty. Mercy House is almost entirely funded by readers of her blog. Read Kristen’s blot at We Are THAT Family dot com.

In the interest of full disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers provided two copies of Rhinestone Jesus for me to give away to my readers. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

—–

And the winners are:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

8

Timestamp: 2014-05-06 04:49:35 UTC

The first winner is Commenter #8 –  Jennifer S. who commented on May 1, 2014 @ 9:55 am.

 

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

10

Timestamp: 2014-05-06 04:51:48 UTC

The second winner is Commenter #10 – Traci who commented on May 2, 2014 @ 5:15 pm.

Congratulations, ladies. I’ll be in contact via e-mail.

 

One Day At A Time

On January 2, 2012, I wrote a blog post titled, Letting Your Life Speak. In that post, I reflected on some changes I wanted to make in my life. Specifically, I want my life to speak this year. And I’m not referring to the wild, loud and crazy words that fly out of this mouth daily.

Surprising, I know.

Basically, letting my life speak – to me – means making a difference when and wherever I can. From the most simplest of tasks to bigger, more important and maybe even life-changing tasks.

Funny thing is, when I sat down at my computer tonight, I had intended to share a story about helping a neighbor unload a chair. Not to brag or boast about helping someone, but because a bulky 138 pound box is no match for three women, a furniture dolly, and a load of motivation.

Instead though, I am typing freely. As the words form from the tips of my fingers onto my keyboard, I am letting my heart do the writing today.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from World Vision about becoming a Child Ambassador. As I read the words on my screen, I felt like God was speaking directly to me. If you haven’t read my World Vision testimony, you can go here to read all about it. And before you go and get all crazy about kids here in the United States starving and why can’t we just feed THEM, believe me when say, I thought AND EVEN SPOKE  those same words. Seriously, you should just go that post before you read any further.

Maybe it’s just me, but when a person runs her mouth and pretty much challenges God, and HE, Himself, shows up ON THE SPOT, in an arena, at 8AM on a Saturday morning, she has no other option than to laugh and tell God that she gets it! answer the call and sponsor a little girl named Mercy with a birthday the exact same day as her son because just minutes before she declared, “Now maybe if God put a kid on my seat with the exact same birthday as one of my boys, I might think differently.”

My. Exact. Words. 

And just because God is God, guess what He did?

He placed a picture folder of a little girl named Mercy in an orange bag on my seat in that arena with a November 1st birthday.

The same birthday as Alex.

And, as you will read in that post, there is A LOT MORE to this story. So much so that I looked up and laughed and said to Him, “YOU. are. so. funny!” 

I HEARD HIM then, and I heard him a few weeks ago. I had no choice but be obedient to His calling.

I now have, in my possession five children currently needing a sponsor. I mean, obviously I don’t HAVE the children, as in have them here, but I have five folders bearing the names and pictures of five precious children.

And if you feel so led, I would love to talk to you about sponsoring one of them.

I thought about taking a picture of the folders and sharing it here on the blog, but I’m just not convinced I am supposed to do that. Just because I have chosen to let my life speak, I would never want you to think that I am hounding, harassing, or begging on my blog.

SO.

With that said, can I ask that you would pray with me for these children.

I will list their names, and their birthdates so that you can call them out by name.

The Bible says where two or three are gathered, HE WILL BE THERE. I am trusting Him to find sponsors for my five children who are really HIS children.

Suprika (g) – birthday: March 19, 2001 – from India
William (b) – birthday: November 13, 2002 – from Burundi
Dancile (g) – birthday: September 5, 2003 – from Burundi
Ashenafi (b) – birthday: June 27, 2002 – from Ethiopia
Martha (g) – birthday: June 19, 2000 – from Ethiopia

Even though He could do all of this on His own, He is allowing me to be a part of it. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I said I wanted to let my life speak, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

One day at a time.

Let’s have some church up in here

It is Sunday morning.

10:14 EST.

I should be in church.

But instead, I am home with a sick boy.

Our little church has been in revival all week. We were blessed with an anointed evangelist who preached God’s word on my level, without all the thees and thous.

It was some good stuff and I was blessed.

  •  Because God is love, there are several things He expects from us. God is love, but he despises when we sin.
  • All sin was nailed to the cross. All sin is wrong. Big sin or little sin. All sin is the same to God.
  • God wants to hear “I’m sorry” from His children.
  • We need to get to the place in our relationship with God where we despise sin as much as He does.
  • You could be sitting in these pews week after week and still be in a backsliding condition.
  • You may be here this evening, refusing to listen to God’s conviction. When you are not listening to the Lord, you are not where you need to be.
  • How do we commit idolatry? How many are guilty of crafting a God in their mind that overlooks the sin and fits the way we want to live.
  • In semiaries across the US, people are being taught there is no hell. My friends, the Bible does not change. God does not change. Hell is just as hot today as it was years ago. In fact, Jesus spoke more on hell than he did Heaven.
  • God is love. But His love is tough love. There are consequences for our sin.
  • What we like to do as people is sow our wild oats and then pray for crop failure. The Bible is full of warnings about sin.
  • Sin is attractive. That’s why Satan dangles it in front of our eyes.
  • If the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart, you better listen.
  • If you have a difficult time loving and forgiving, you need some rewiring.
  • We as humans are conditional. In our giving, our relationships and even with the Lord. It’s time that we start loving WITHOUT conditions.
  • God loves you! And why you would turn your back on that love I don’t know.
  • There are some of you who sing in the choir and teach classes and are faithful to the business of the church, but you are disobedient to God’s will.
  • Some choices are a matter of life and death.
  • You should try to live closer to the cross than you did yesterday.
  • Who we are tomorrow, depends on the choices we make today.
  • It is time for us to observe the Ten Commandments and not just read them.
  • If you harbor sin in your heart, you should know that God cannot and will not use a dirty vessel. Nor will he bless you.
  • You walk talks, and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk.
  • We should be laboring successfully. As God’s children, He expects us to work.
  • If you are a lazy teacher, you’re going to be held accountable for that.
  • You are as close to God as you want to be.
  • Sometimes God says no when we ask for something. We need to understand that sometimes that because He is protecting us.
  • There are things in our life the devil will use to get his foot in the door. He knows what your weaknesses are.
  • If something seems like temptation, guess what? IT IS TEMPTATION!
  • We sing “I Surrender All”, but really, we should sing “I Surrender Some” because that’s what a lot of us do.
  • Many of you are saved, but you’ve lost your joy, and you walk around like you’re sucking on a sour apple.
  • If you are unsaved, Satan has complete control of your life.
  • Just about every sin we commit stems from I — I need, I want, I deserve.
  • We like to go about our own business, but that kind of behavior has consequences. My friends, there are always consequences to evil choices.
  • Satan wants to cripple your witness. He wants to disable us and make us ineffective.

Can I get an Amen?

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.  – Psalm 51:10-12

Roaring Waves

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is His name.

Isaiah 51:15

The Maker

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:6

God’s Heart For Me

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to review an item from (in)courage and Dayspring. I received a beautiful piece of jewelry and I just knew I was going to love it. The necklace – a beautiful unique conversation piece – is called “God’s Heart For You” and I love the message behind it.

Engraved on the four sides of the long pendant are the words: cherished; created; celebrated and chosen. As in, I AM cherished, created, celebrated and chosen BY GOD.

That means, I am cherished even though I am flawed. I am created by God, big mouth and all. I am celebrated by God though I fail him daily. And I am chosen by God even though there are so many others far better suited than I.

What a great reminder this necklace is for me.

Head over to my review page for your chance to win a $20 gift code to be used on anything in the Dayspring store.

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name.  Isaiah 51:15

40 Things Before 40

While sitting around the campfire tonight, we talked briefly about the bucket list. I don’t really have a bucket list, but I do spend a fair amount of time thinking of things I would like to do before I um, you know, pass.

This isn’t necessarily a bucket list, because? Hello? I’m already 36 and these are things I’d like to do before I’m forty, not before I’m dead but it’s certainly a list of things I’d like to accomplish before I have the birthday that comes after the thirty-ninth.

And just before the one that starts with forty and ends with one.

1. Give up my love of lists.
 
2. Lose a lot! of weight.
 
3.  Learn HTML code.
 
4. Go to Australia with McDaddy
 
5.  Get a full ten-hour night of uninterrupted sleep (without waking to pee!)
 
6. See a Broadway Show
 
7.  Share McDaddy’s love of off-roading without irrational fear or panic attack.
 
8. Own a Saturn Sky even if only for a short time.
 
9. Purchase the empty lot beside of our house so that McDaddy can have the garage of his dreams.
 
10. Finish the basement. I mean completely finished and mess cleaned up!
 
11. A new deck (We need one sooner rather than later or else we’ll have our very own drop zone!)
 
12. Worry less.
 
13. Get a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

What?

I already said that. Yes, I know. I’m just reminding you!
 
14. Go to the dentist and get a good report without getting the dreaded floss lesson. (Which means I should actually floss each. and. every. single. day. Thankyouverymuch!)
 
15. Visit Alaska
 
16. Worry Less
 
17. Get off blood pressure medicine. This could probably happen by achieving at least seven of the items on this list.
 
18. Declutterize our house completely!
 
19. Learn how to start the lawn-mower. Not cause I really want to mow, but, because its the responsible thing to do.
 
20. Find the perfect bra. Why is that we can put a man on the moon, but we can’t make a bra for every woman’s size and body shape that is comfortable?

 21. Actually pay attention every. time. someone. speaks. to. me.  {Huh, what did you say?}
 
22. Learn how to make a perfect batch of no-bake cookies just like my daddy!
 
23. Read the Bible allthewaythrough.
 
24. Have a really easy, great haircut that is easy to style.
 
25. Be free of my addiction of caffeinated Beverages {Could someone warn the folks at Dr. Pepper that in four short
years there could be a slight decline in monthly sales}.
 
26. Get rid of everything in our house that has not been touched for a year.
 
27. Let my boys be – BOYS. Without fear of injury or something worse!
 
28. Learn more about stuff I know nothing about. Knowledge regarding things like stocks and HTML Code could be very helpful to me some day!
 
29. Cook more. {Enough said}.
 
30. Buy flowers for spring and keep them alive all summer by watering them instead of depending on prayer and God to bring them back to life.
 
31. Find the perfect purse. I have purchased at least twenty perfect purses, yet, they find their way to the bottom of the purse pile when the next ’perfect’ one hops off the shelf and onto my arm.
 
32. Get rid of stuff in the loft that we have not touched since we moved here seven years ago. {Anybody out there have a need for old diaries or one or two or twenty backpacks?}
 
33. Do every. single. thing. on my long term To-Do List. Or just shred the list.
 
34. Be caught up on scrapbooks with NO pictures in the pending basket. After all, someday these boys will be grown and may actually want to take them when they leave.
 
35.  Think. Before. I. Speak. {Sweet Hallelujah, is it possible?}
 
36. Take the boys to Lake Powell to spend a week on a houseboat. We’ve made this trip twice – before kids, mind you – and it is the most relaxing vacation in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
 
37. Have patience.
 
38. Successfully back the van into the garage on the first try. It’s been seven years – and every single time I back in crooked I think about the fact that the guy who built it, (ahem! Glen) designed it just off center. I’m sure his botched calculations are the root of the problem.
 
39. Lose FIVE! sizes. And never find them again as long as I shall live!
 
40. Change my freakin’ attitude about things I have no control over.

WHEW! It’s a really good thing I have three years, five  months, and nine days to get this all figured out. I am no doubt going to be a busy girl.

What about you? Anything you’d like to do before you hit your next ‘milestone’?

Talk amongst yourselves!