Posted in Reflection

Something I’m glad I learned at an early age.

Perhaps it’s because I’m in a new stage of life now. I’m newly married. I’m turning older this week. Etc. But, when I was confronted with this topic idea for a blog post, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. What I mean is this, now that Hub and I have our own home, our own life, and our own plans and dreams for future children, we find ourselves (rather often) talking about things our parents taught us, things we appreciate about them, things our parents represent, and things from our childhoods we don’t want to take for granted.

So, here goes.

The prompt: Something you are glad you learned at an early age.

(There’s so many things I could talk about, I know. This, however, came to my mind first.)

 

I’m glad I learned at an early age that going to church isn’t optional.

 

Now, don’t sign me off right away. I’m not judging. I’m not trying to come across as “holier than thou,” either. And, I’m certainly not preaching.

Yes, I was a preacher’s daughter. I didn’t really have a choice. We attended church every time the doors were open. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Three times a week. Case closed. No questions asked.

But, it was much more than that. My parents taught me that it wasn’t all about what the church or the Sunday School lessons or the services could give to you; it was also what you were going to give back. How you were going to tap in. It was (and still is) a lifestyle.

This goes beyond being a preacher’s family, though. I firmly believe that if my Dad wouldn’t have been the pastor, we still would have been attending. Every service. Sunday and Wednesday. In fact, my parents both had parents who were laymen of the church – and they believed that same way.

I know what you’re thinking. “My church doesn’t even have Sunday night service.” “I work until 6 p.m. on Wednesday; there’s no way I can make prayer meeting or even stay awake during it.” “Sometimes I just need a Sunday night to regroup before the coming week.”

I get it. I really do. I’ve even skipped a service or two myself. And, I’ve gone a stretch or two not attending Sunday school. But, that’s not my point.

My point is this: I’m glad I had parents that didn’t. I’m glad I had parents that set the bar high. I’m glad I had parents who chose to attend church, even on vacation. I’m glad my parents made it exciting to go to church and encouraged me to use my talent of singing in a church setting. I’m glad my parents loved me enough to make me do what I didn’t always want to do.

We all have our reasons. We sometimes even have excuses.  Yes, the trend now is to NOT have Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services. Have break-out and discipleship groups, instead. That’s AWESOME! I even love the idea. And, sometimes we just don’t feel good. We’re sick. We’re stretched emotionally. We need a break.

I get it. I really do.

Here’s what I’m saying, though. In a world where people are looking for an excuse to miss church, be one of the faithful few. Teach that Sunday School class, be a mentor, choose a pew to sit in and be there. Faithfully. If you have to miss, miss. Just don’t make a habit of it. Support your pastor and his family. Your pastor prays and works tirelessly to get the mind of God for the message on Sunday. And, guess what… He does the SAME for the Sunday night and Wednesday night services, too! When did we start placing Sunday morning service as “THE” service that matters and the other two services as the “ones that don’t really count.”

And… Furthermore… If you are there, be ALL there. Put your phone away. Stop paying more attention to those around you than the One you’re supposed to be at church for. Focus on God. Focus on worship.

Focus on being there.

Focus on making church THE option, not optional.

 

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Posted in Reflection

8 things I learned in 2018.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty downright excited about 2019.

A new year. A fresh start. 🎉👏🏽

I’ll celebrate my first birthday married. Hub and I will celebrate a year of wedded bliss. I just know there will be lots of adventures coming up! And, of course, some challenges, too.

I have some a couple neat resolutions and goals that I will be putting into effect on January 1st – be looking for a post on that in a day or two! But, before I get so focused on 2019, I’m trying to do some reflecting and reminiscing on 2018.

Each year helps shape us into the person we are and are becoming!

2018 was a year to remember. 2018 held a lot for me. A lot of beginnings. A lot of endings. A lot of lessons. That’s why I decided to make a list. Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to happen. Create the moment! I’ve experienced so much pure happiness this year. I can’t even explain. Perfect moments. Life isn’t perfect, but moments can be. It comes from letting go of expectations and realizing the life right in front of you is what you make of it.
  2. Change stinks. It’s hard. But, honestly, it’s not all bad. There’s so much good. Change forms us into new and better, stronger people.
  3. Everyone around me is fighting a battle that I don’t (always) know about. Everyone. Students, coworkers, family members, friends. Don’t judge. Be kind. Take time out of my busy schedule for others.
  4. We are each stronger than we realize. But you don’t know this about yourself until those hard conversations, difficult lessons, and stressful situations come. Until you have no choice but to face another day. Until you have to grow up. You can’t choose what comes your way; you can choose your response.
  5. I must hold people up to the standard of grace, not the standard of perfection. People let you down; they disappoint. That’s life. If you extend grace, you will grow. If you expect perfection, you will become bitter.
  6. Focus matters. Now more than ever. We live in a crazy world. God first. My family second. Family means my marriage, my future children. When our focus turns to other people and their opinions and problems, we lose track of ourselves, our progress, and our goals.
  7. Stop blowing stuff out of proportion. Little frustrations become big ones if I don’t let them go. Small stuff doesn’t need to come between me and the people I love. Life is too short for that.
  8. Life shouldn’t be about stuff. I’m super blessed. I have way more than I need and so much more than I deserve. Stuff doesn’t last. People and memories do.

 

Leave me a comment & let me know a lesson or two that 2018 taught you! We are all in this thing called life together! 💙

 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Posted in Reflection

Face another day…

Gentle Shepherd

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us,
For we need Your strength from day to day.

There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day.
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.

(G. Gaither)

 

Face another day…

 

Sometimes life gets so busy that I forget… I forget the pain. I forget the rough days, the horrible nights. Those nights when I was scared to fall asleep because Satan had confused my mind so much. Those times when I cried myself to sleep because of the fear inundating my very soul. Those days when I struggled to even want to pray because I felt that I was always messing up. Those chains that held my soul. Those moments when I was overcome with grief – the loss of a best friend. Those valleys that seemed so dark. Those hurts that were more than real. Those heartbreaks – big or small – that left me feeling lonely, confused, battered, and bruised.

I forget. And, to be honest, I am thankful that I forget. I am thankful that Christ has offered me His peace in contrast to my fear, His deliverance in contrast to my bondage, and His healing for my aching heart.

Every once in a while, though, my eyes fill with tears and my heart tugs as my soul remembers the moments of pain and hurt and fear – the times I did not want to face the next day – the times I wanted to give up. And, I believe God gives me these times to remind me of where I have been and what He has brought me through so that I could be the (perhaps) stronger, braver, and wiser person that I am today.

Trust me, friend. With Jesus – no matter how dark the day – you can face it. Don’t stop fighting your battles. You’ll come out on top.