Category Archives: Church

Let’s Read the Bible Together

I posted on my FB page about how reading the Bible regularly has changed my life, and before I start another “Year in the Bible” plan I wanted to invite anyone else that’s interested to join me.

I didn’t think anyone would be interested. I’m not a pastor so it isn’t like I have any extra knowledge about the Bible. I haven’t even taken a religious class outside of a couple of Sunday School lessons and Priscilla Shirer Bible studies. And how, exactly, would people ‘join me’ in reading? And, again, why would invite people to join me on something I don’t know anything about?

But some of yall were interested in this idea! And you clicked the invite.

So now I’m fretting a bit because, crap. Yall clicked the invite and now there’s maybe some kind of expectation? But I’m doing this one step at a time, and I haven’t heard much else on what’s next so I’m just going to share a few thoughts I have on reading the Bible before we start…


GRACE ABOUNDS

Because we’re starting this on New Year’s it feels and looks and quacks like a New Year’s Resolution. “I’m going to read my Bible in a year!” you whisper confidently to the mirror. Great! If you respond well to New Year’s Resolutions then yes! It’s a New Year’s Resolution!

But if you’re even a little like me, and you go into something with big dreams and then reality creeps in and you miss a workout or you eat that bag normal portion of potato chips and you’re like, “Forget it. This life isn’t for me” and you quit, can I beg you to not see this as a New Year’s Resolution? Approach this thing we’re doing with as much grace for yourself as your little brain and heart can muster.

You are going to ‘miss’ days.

You are going to not get all of the day’s reading done.

You are going to not feel like it.

The point of this isn’t to feel like you’ve added homework to your life. The point of this is to use the Word to get to know a God that desires a relationship with us. You’re going to hear a voice that wants you to feel shame for messing up or for not feeling like reading and that voice is NOT from the Holy Spirit. It’s a great time to get in the habit of telling that voice, “Not today, Satan.”

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This past year I was able to read every day, but I wasn’t getting the entire day’s reading done, and the app will tell you how many days you’ve missed. And I ended up, like, 3 months behind and I’d kinda sit in this space of, “Ok, I’ll read 2 days worth today and I’ll be caught up.” But then it became this desire to ‘catch up’ and not a desire to know God. So the Holy Spirit reminded me what the point was and there was this little button on the app that lets you ‘catch up’ and basically resets the plan so that you don’t have any more ‘missed days.’ This was grace in action, and I loved it.

JUST ASK

If you’re new to reading the Bible it’s going to be really easy to feel like it’s irrelevant to your life. How can reading about a miracle done in the middle east a billion years ago matter to me? What on earth am I supposed to do with a story about a guy who kills his brother? NONE OF THIS MATTERS!!!

I’m gonna say that whatever prompted you to join me wasn’t an accident. I believe with everything in me it’s the Holy Spirit moving and nudging you here. So, in the same way I suggest you say, “Not today, Satan” when you’re feeling crappy, I’m going to suggest you literally talk to the Holy Spirit as if He’s a person (because He is) and ask, “What are you trying to teach me, Holy Spirit? Please make me sensitive to what you’re showing me in the Word.” These questions to the Holy Spirit are commonly known as prayer. Simple, right?

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I really believe that if you open your heart this way before you read the Word you’ll get a tingle to something. It might be one sentence or even one word. But something will jump out at you. Underline it. Highlight it. Text it to yourself.

Also, lots of things you’ll read will probably leave you with more questions than answers. Write those questions down! They are some of my best conversation starters with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make sense of it and then listen to where He guides you. Sometimes He just tells you and gives you clarity. Sometimes He tells you to talk to someone about it. Most of my google chats with Mark are me saying, “I just read this and that is not how I’ve understood it before…” and we end up having really fun conversations that give me new and deeper understandings about God.

TIMING

I have never been too strict about when I read my Bible, but I have found that it being part of my routine has made me more consistent. When I was pregnant and waking up every night at 3 in the morning, that was when I’d do my readings. Then Wren was born and I was on maternity leave for a couple of months and I found that the early morning feeding was the best time to do it. Then I went back to work and found that during the 10am pumping session was the best time to do it. Today I usually get it done while I’m laying in bed and everyone is asleep, and I have an imaginary ‘rule’ that I can’t check anything else until I do my readings. Find a part of your day that happens pretty consistently and see if you can’t tag the Bible in there. The Bible app also has an audio thing so you could listen to the day’s reading on your drive to work, too!

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TRANSLATION

I was in a Sunday School class last year and someone mocked the idea of reading the New Living Translation like it wasn’t real. This made my blood boil because that’s what I read! It’s an easy to read translation that doesn’t get me stuck feeling like I’m reading Shakespeare. I am gonna suggest finding a translation that you enjoy reading, and not get too caught up in it being the most scholarly translation. My two cents: You can quickly and easily change the translation you’re using in the Bible app so feel free to find a version that makes it as easy as possible to digest the Word.

 Ok, I think that’s all I’ve got. I’m so excited to see what God does here!

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Seek and Find

Every parent wants to give their kid a ‘Wow’ present. I remember that feeling of waking up on Christmas morning and all the magic and joy of seeing The Gift under the tree. I want, more than anything, to give my kids that same feeling of joy.

The problem is that the older your kid gets the harder it is to capture that joy in a toy. Otis is especially hard because from what we can tell his joy comes from just being around his family. He is full Elf when he hears that I’m not going to work and we get to spend time with Bobbby, Lindsey, Meesa, Shawn, and Tater.

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Unfortunately, he also really loves opening presents and wrapping up his aunts and uncles would be… difficult.

But, yall. I found The Gift.

Meet The Sharers. YouTubers that are just super sweet, happy guys and Otis loves them. They do that little hand signal thing and Otis throws it up regularly and will say, “Mom, stay awesome and share the love” (which is what they say when they begin and end videos).

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It clicked a week before Christmas that Otis would lose his mind over a red Sharer shirt. He’d never take it off. It would fill him with joy that he’d never experienced before. I’m not being hyperbolic. He would love The Gift.

I order the shirt and it’s scheduled to get here on time. Phew.

A few days later a manila envelope is in the mailbox. I open it and a quick peek says it’s The Gift. Yay! He’s gonna flip, yall. I toss it in the closet that is holding all of our Amazon boxes, and go about life.

Christmas Eve and the kids are in bed. We start wrapping the presents. We don’t leave presents under the tree because I’m not in the mood to be asked about opening gifts for weeks on end. Everything goes out on Christmas Eve after the kids go to sleep.

“Where is the manila envelope from the closet?” I ask.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about…”

Hmmm….

I tear the house apart. I start looking in the weird places like the freezer, my underwear drawer, and behind the lawn mower. I stand in the middle of rooms just staring hoping it will jump out and yell surprise.

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I did this until almost 2 in the morning. My heart was feeling so broken and hopeless. I had to find The Gift. I just had to.

Obviously, I was praying the whole time, but finally I had to sit down and get serious.

“Lord, please! I need to find The Gift. Where is it?!? If he doesn’t get The Gift he won’t have The Joy.”

And then I heard the Holy Spirit gently convict me…

Guide him to find the The Joy in The Gift of Me.

I was/am dangerously close to training my child to find Joy in the things of this world which would be fine if it was possible. We all know that by dinner the joy of most Christmas gifts has worn off. We know that the high of the perfect present is fleeting, but we keep chasing it down. And no matter how perfect that Share the Love shirt is (and I cannot fully explain how. perfect. this. gift. is.) it isn’t anything compared to being in relationship with Jesus. So instead of stressing and using my energy to find a shirt, I thanked God that He made this relationship possible and prayed for wisdom about how to guide Otis best towards Him and His joy.

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2016: Answered

 

At the beginning of 2016 I made myself a little vision board in a Google doc. Nothing fancy, nothing special. Just a visual representation of things I wanted to see happen in 2016:2016-goals

  • A car
  • A trip to Disney World
  • A pregnancy
  • A prayer life
  • A Grammy

I made it back in January and, like most ‘resolutions,’ had forgotten about it before spring started. I stumbled upon the document last week as I did my yearly cleanup, and was stunned that 3 of my 5 things actually came into fruition.

I got pregnant. This one is especially funny because by February I had given up/surrendered this ‘dream.’ I want to write more about this later, but I had moved on from Baby #2 being how God was going to grow our family was happily waiting to see how He would make sure Otis wasn’t going to spend Christmas 2046 alone. But God.

I got a car. This one happened ‘ right before the buzzer.’ A couple of weeks before Christmas my car ‘died’ on the way home from work. A couple of weeks prior to that I had made a spreadsheet with My Plan. We had a nugget of cash I wanted to start squirreling away, pretending it was a car payment, so that in 2018 we would a) be in the habit of making a car payment and b) have a downpayment/head start on said car payment. God thought that plan was dumb-ish, and instead just gave us a car via my in-laws. Yeah. My in-laws gave us their car. I didn’t know what to say either. I want to write more about this one, too.

I got a prayer life. I started taking God seriously this year. I no longer wanted to be this Meh Christian that believed that God existed, but led a life that didn’t look that different from people that believed God was spaghetti monster. If I believed in a God that rose from the dead and healed the blind and was bigger than any pharaoh or president, then my life would look different. And if I believed that that same God was my Father and that I had the same access to Him that Ivanka has to the Donald, then my life would look powerful. I started a Read the Bible in a Year plan and I’m farther than I’ve ever been (Day 120). I wake up excited to read the Bible. And I’m bringing everything to God in prayer. EVERYTHING. I cannot explain how this has changed my marriage. And while I forgot that I had put the War Room lady’s pic on my ‘vision board’ I have thought numerous times throughout the year that I don’t get to be an old lady with thousands of stories of how God showed up if I don’t start praying today.

And there were things I didn’t ‘get.’ Otis didn’t get to go to Disney World. But I still want that so badly for him. Otis is physically unable to hide his emotions, and while this causes more than enough grief (hello, Temper Tantrums) this characteristic also brings me so much joy. When this little guy is happy he cannot even. And I’m 99% he would weep with joy if he got to see Woody from Toy Story in person.

And we didn’t win any Grammys. And by ‘we’ I obviously mean Mark. But after a year of praying, I’ve never felt more confident that his musical talents are going to be used the way God wants them to be used, Grammy or no Grammy.

I don’t look at God like He’s some magical genie. One thing I repeat to myself over and over and over again is, “He’s God and He is loving even if you don’t get what you want.” But when He does bless me and my family? When I get a positive pregnancy test after years of thinking it wouldn’t happen? When I get car keys handed to me by in-laws that love me like they raised me? When I get to spend every morning learning more about the heart of the Creator of the Universe because He wrote an entire history of love letters to us? Well, I’m going to write a blog post and whisper, “Thank you, Lord. For everything.”

Amen, in Jesus name I accept my blessings of desires in abundance of immeasurable proportion, I accept salvation by confessing with my mouth that you my Lord Jesus, King of kings are my Lord and Savior, my God, because of you father everything I speak comes to fruition commanded by the Holy Ghost, through the everlasting love of Jesus Christ, embraced in Gods mercy and grace. Amen...  Lisa Christiansen, child of the one true king ΙΧΘΥΣ :

Fall Y’all Traditions

It’s that time of the year again!

Star Wars harrison ford han solo what are you talking about movies

It’s Fall Y’all!

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Fine. I’m late to the party. But that’s kind of the point.

I have illusions of grandeur like every mom. I’m gonna make O’s costume hahahahahahahahaha. We’re gonna carve pumpkins we got at the pumpkin farm that everyone goes to because Kroger pumpkins are for losers. I’ll bake the pumpkin seeds and then ask Mark why on earth white people eat these. Y’all do eat them, right? We will put out some spooky decorations and tell ghost stories around the fire pit that I keep saying I’ll buy in May when they are on sale but never buy because  it’s May  and, seriously, who wants a fire pit in May?

But every year none of that happens, which technically makes it a tradition, so… #MomFailsTurnedMomWins

Just to recap this is our Fall Y’all Tradition: Dreaming big dreams and then procrastinating until the weekend before Halloween and trying to cram all that fall awesome in on one day because OTIS WON’T HAVE ANY MEMORIES IF WE DON’T DO ALL THE THINGS BUT WHY DO ALL THE THINGS HAVE TO BE SO CROWDED AND TIME CONSUMING AND DID I REALLY EAT ALL OF THE HALLOWEEN CANDY ALREADY? Crap.

If you’re like me and this is where you’ve found yourself for the 6th Halloween in a row, can I invite you to Haywood Hills Baptist Church’s Harvest Fest and Trunk or Treat?

We’re a small congregation right off of I-24 with lots of love to give. And by ‘love’ I mean candy, cookies, and chili #FallFoodTrifecta.

Let’s be real. Are there going to be a billion Nashville churches hosting fall festivals that weekend? Yes.

But will some of those billion churches be just as crowded as Gentry Farm on the second weekend in October? Yes.

Will Haywood Hills be crowded? No, probably not. Which means there will be fewer people to see you angry whisper at your preschooler having a meltdown because “THE CHOCOLATE I’VE BEEN HOLDING IN MY CLOSED FIST FOR THE LAST HOUR IS MELTING!!!”

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And no one is going to judge you. Sweet older church ladies are going to walk right by smiling while saying sweet prayers for your sanity and praising Jesus that they are done with that tantrum nonsense.

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So if you’re a loser mom, like me, and your kid is dangerously close to having no Fall Y’all memories, then come join us for:

  • Trunk or Treat (no razor blades in our candy!) (but still check it because you’re a #GoodMom)
  • Crafts because you’re in the South
  • Pumpkin decoration because it’s Fall Y’all!
  • A photo booth so you can get sweet pictures of your kid in that homemade store-bought costume (you could even be IN THE PICTURE this time!) (Remember, if you can’t Instagram it then it didn’t happen)
  • Games and activities for the little loves
  • Chili (there’s a cookoff for this so if you’re about that chili-making life submit yours!)
  • Cake walks (I’m not all the way sure what this is but there’s cake so it’s obvs a can’t miss event)
  • Costume contest because some people actually try at life

If you’re in the neighborhood and want to have a good time with sweet people and go to bed knowing that you succeeded at parenting then come join us at our Harvest Fest & Trunk or Treat!

(Say you’re going here on Facebook so that they can remind you of all the promises you made that seemed like a good idea at the time…)

Look Around

When life gets hard or messy I do this thing where I look backwards. I look into my past for all of the moments that God showed up, big and small, and I remind myself that He is here. He is always here.

Mark toyed with this idea of having a display in our home where we’d add pieces of stone or tile every time God worked, a memorial inspired by those in the Old Testament. God asks us to build memorials because He knows we’re not good at remembering, that sometimes He leads us out of slavery only to have us complain about the menu.

This is one of those seasons. I’m in a valley that I argue I shouldn’t be in because “Hey! I am following You! This shouldn’t happen to me!” and God argues back, “Yes, you’re following Me, and this valley is precisely the time to keep doing so.”

We don’t have that tile display in our home because, well, we’re lazy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see memorials that our faith has built everywhere I look.

I see our home. We moved out of Mark’s parents’ house when I was 8 months pregnant with Otis. It was terrifying. Mark hated it, but I insisted. We moved into a small apartment with no real plans on how we’d ever own a home, or what our next step would be. A few months before our lease was up I called our realtor. I was sure that once I told the mortgage lady how much money we made they’d refer us to a homeless shelter, but Someone said to buy a house so I called. Between a recovering housing market and excellent rental history, we found a home. A home that has us paying way less than half of what it would cost to rent something similar.

I see our marriage. I obviously wasn’t around when Mark got divorced, but I do believe that our marriage is a blessing for how Mark handled it when his world fell apart. I believe Mark walked through an ugly season and had an incredible amount of faith that God would redeem the destruction. And He did. On anniversaries where every normal couple tries to out romance each other, we look at each other over a plate full of McDonald’s french fries and are awestruck by the peace in ourselves, in our marriage, in our home.

I see big debts that work themselves out. I see dreams of schools fighting to become real. I see jobs morph into callings. I see illnesses healed. I see ultrasounds of babies long prayed for.

There are so many times when I am tempted to look at all the ways it hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to and I have wanted to pitch a fit. Throw myself on the ground and demand an different easier path, preferably something that Instagrams well.

The more times I see God in the details of my life, not just the retreats or amazing sermons or tearful praise songs, the more confident I am when I remind myself of His promises.

He promises His provision.
He promises His comfort.
He promises His shelter.
He promises His redemption.
He promises His healing.
He promises His protection.
He promises His guidance.
He promises His joy.

Like so many of you I’m in a season where I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know how this thing will grow and morph. I don’t know if I’ll like God’s answer. I don’t know how God will show up. But I do know that He will because that’s who He is.

Dear Church, let’s remember who He is not just because it’s what we heard about Him in Sunday School. Let’s remember because we have been given the awesome gift of looking around and, not just experiencing the miracles, but EXPECTING them.

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This is our problem, Church

This post is for my fellow Christ followers.

Most of the time I’m like everyone else watching the United States of America the last couple of weeks.

It breaks my heart that there’s a mom looking at her little brown baby and genuinely terrified about the day he becomes too scary. Terrified about the day he becomes ok to murder.

It breaks my heart that there are babies watching their good moms and dads leave for work to serve their community scared they might not make it home.

It breaks my heart that there’s so much hurt that none of us can hear straight.

But these are nothing compared to the heartbreak I feel over the silence from the Church.

I get why the world is fuming and hopeless. I truly do. The entire thing is a cluster. I get why violence feels like an answer. It’s what naturally happens when we have felt unheard for too long. We cannot expect anything different from our flesh.

But when I see the Church fail to be the Church? I don’t even have words.

But Jesus did have the words…

I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

Our oneness gives the godless world evidence that Jesus was sent here because God loved all of us.

If ‘saving the world in the name of Jesus Christ’ matters to you then UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST MATTERS TO YOU.

You want to ‘prove’ that God is real? THEN CARE ABOUT EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF HIS BODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It makes me weep that when the race conversation blows up on CNN or Fox or your local Facebook page no one ever says, “How do we fix this? Let’s ask the Church! They have it figured out!” And do you know why they don’t ask us about racial reconciliation and how to become One?

Because Sundays are the most segregated day of the week. And everyone is ok with that.

Because when schools were desegregated churches responded by opening private schools so that their kids would never have to mix.

Because when I went on my first church trip as a teenager in 1999 the conversation in the van was whether or not it was ok to date outside of your race. IN NINETEEN NINETY NINE. 

No one looks at the Church’s ability to unite across racial lines and says, “Yes! That’s how it should be done!” That’s a problem, yall.

And I don’t say any of this like it should be easy. It isn’t easy today, the same way it wasn’t easy when the Church was born and God was explaining to them that “Yes, Jewish people you are going to start eating with Gentiles. It’s going to be awesome. Trust me.”

Paul was the biggest racist of them all and was essentially of the same mindset as a white supremacist, and God was like, “Hey! I want to use you to unite the Church!”

And then after God got a hold of Paul’s heart he wrote this to the church at Ephesus:

11-13 But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

THE CROSS GOT US TO EMBRACE AND THAT WAS THE END OF THE HOSTILITY.


Church, listen. Satan wins every single time we choose our fleshly desire to become defensive or violent over having compassion for the very real pain of our brothers and sisters IN CHRIST. I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of letting him win. Of letting him destroy the community and peace of His Church. Of being ok or indifferent or apathetic to the dire lack of unity in our churches. I’m tired of letting Satan tell me it’s ok to believe what I believe about my fellow earthlings instead of demanding that THE CREATOR OF EVERY SINGLE HUMAN renew my mind to make it look more like His and less like mine.

This is the spiritual warfare, Church. We don’t use weapons in spiritual warfare. We use love. So if you want to get in the fight why don’t we start with holding up all of our thoughts and opinions about race relations up to His word:

Love is patient. Am I patient when I hear a different perspective? Or am I unwilling to listen?

Love is kind. Are my actions drenched in kindness? Or have I chosen to be harsh?

Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. Do I just want to be right?

Love does not dishonor others. Are my words bringing honor to my family-in-Christ’s pain?

Love is not self-seeking. Am I fighting for what is right and fair for EVERYONE?

Love is not easily angered. Yeah… about that.

Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. Am I holding the past against you?

Love rejoices in the truth. Does being right bring me joy? 

Love protects. Am I standing up with the hurting?

Love trusts. Am I giving you the benefit of the doubt?

Love hopes. Do I have faith any of this can change?

Love perseveres. Am I willing to continue this journey to racial reconciliation with the Church even when it feels damn near impossible? 

Love never fails.

Church, let’s not let hate infect our hearts, ok?

On Emailing Strangers and Catching Fireflies

A couple of years ago I was watching PBS do an interview with a science dude that was explaining the Polar Vortex. I liked his explanation. I liked that he seemed passionate about weather science stuff. I felt like he needed to know that his contribution to the world was appreciated.

So I googled until I found his email address, and let him know:

polar vortex

 

There’s a kid in grad school that has been predicting the primary election results using data from Facebook. It’s fascinating. He’s very good. He’s doing it for ‘fun’ and because that’s what he wants to do in the world so why not? He put out a tip jar and I threw a couple of dollars his way because good work deserves a little something, something.

pedigo

 

***

I don’t know that there is anything I’m more protective of than what I call the Holy Spirit tingle. You can feel it in your bones when you’re in the zone, when you’re doing what you’re uniquely gifted to do.

I think we live in a very distracting world. We chase down material things or status or security, and the Holy Spirit tingle is lucky to be an afterthought. The Holy Spirit tingle is quiet and gentle. It doesn’t demand attention. I imagine finding it is a lot like catching fireflies. Once you see it light up, when you see the general area she’s in, you have to change your focus so you can still see her when her light fades away.

It’s so easy to get discouraged when you are chasing down fireflies or Holy Spirit tingles. It’s so easy to give up. That’s why I look for random scientist’s email addresses and donate money to kids that are doing insane amounts of work “just because.” That’s why I fight for Mark’s songwriting, write books in the hours before work, and am trying really, really hard to get a school started where kids get to chase down every firefly they are blessed to get a glimpse of. In a very loud world full of “Be practical!” “Don’t dream!” “Grow up!”, I’m desperate to add my voice to the voice whispering, “Keep going” “Add your magic to this world” “Have faith.”

A different hurt

Last night I woke up from an ugly dream. Otis was jumping around and he fell backwards and his head hit a wall. Blood was everywhere. My heart stopped. He jumped up, rubbed the back of his head and said, “I’m fine, Mommy” and bounced away.

I woke up because there’s something really disturbing about seeing your kid’s blood. It doesn’t sit right in a mama’s stomach.

I laid in bed and thought of all the mamas that have seen blood, but didn’t hear an “I’m fine, Mommy.” I cried thinking about how normal that is in some parts of the world. I prayed because what else can you do?

A few hours later I woke up again, this time to get ready for work, and one of the first things I saw on my Facebook feed was about the Brussels attacks:

I’m always open to being incredibly wrong, but as soon as I read this I thought, “God woke me up to pray for this mama.”

One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed since becoming a mom is how much more I weep for these kinds of tragedies. It hurts differently. And it isn’t just because my baby is growing up  in this scary world. It’s because there are so many mama hearts that have been destroyed by so much senseless violence. I’m weeping because I know how much I love my baby which means I know how much they love their babies. My mama heart understands their mama hearts no matter what language we speak or what religion we practice or what we wear on our heads.

I am holding my breath because the fighting and the analyzing and the blaming is about to start because that’s how these things go. That’s how these things always go. But I’m going to pray that the believers, the ones that have faith in a God bigger than all of this, the ones that know that God saves in a multitude of ways, that we won’t run to the fighting. That we will instead run to be His channel for love and grace and kindness and peace and comfort and healing and mercy and joy in the midst of darkness. I pray that we won’t let our light go out because of fear or hate. I pray that we will not be shaken.

Message me if you want to talk about the Bible :) Looking for a bible study friend :):

What the Apples Taught Me

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you.

Ephesians 4:29

A few weeks ago Danielle LaPorte, famous internet person, posted a picture of an “experiment” she did with her kid. They cut an apple in half and talked crap to one half and encouraged the other half. These were the results:

I had seen this idea before in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know!? Dr. Emoto says that our thoughts influence us on a molecular level:

Being the scientist that I am I thought, “I can try this!”

So I did.

I put one half of an apple in a ziplock bag where I had written words like ‘good, pretty, kind.’ The other half of the apple went in a bag with words like ‘bad, ugly, evil’ on it.

I put the baggies on the window sill next to our kitchen sink. Any time I looked over at them I tried to remember to talk negatively/positively to them.

“You suck.”

“You look really nice today.”

But I was worried that the apples would get confused on who I was talking to and pick up unintended messages thus destroying the integrity of this very scientific science experiment.

So I gave them names:

“Bad Apple. Listen to me. I’m talking to you. You suck.”

“Good Apple, how’s your day going? The view is beautiful JUST LIKE YOU. I’m sorry you have to sit next to Bad Apple.”

This went on for a few days because I have the attention span of a gnat and the patience of not-a-grasshopper. The apples didn’t look different immediately so I got bored. I let the apples hang out on the window, but I was pretty sure nothing was going to happen. Actually, so little was happening that I even considered turning the experiment into the one everyone does with french fries to show that they don’t mold so we shouldn’t eat them and was going to point out apples don’t rot either so ha!

But then one day many weeks later I looked up and noticed this:

apples to apples with words

 

Out of nowhere Bad Apple seemed to rot overnight. I mean, Good Apple wasn’t looking amazing, but she would definitely beat Bad Apple in the Putnam County Fairest of the Fair Apple Division.

I’m digging the idea that our words and thoughts matter.

Let no foul or polluting language come out of your mouth (Ephesians 4:29)  Your words can pollute or purify. If you constantly complain, you...

But what I thought was most interesting was that the words and thoughts didn’t do anything to the apples immediately. It wasn’t like I talked crap and the Bad Apple got a bruise. Because there aren’t immediate effects it makes it so much easier let critical and negative words out. I mean, it’d be a lot easier to be careful with how I talk to Mark if he got a black eye every time I pointed out all the ways he’d let me down that day.

I don’t actually think we need an almost science experiment to know that we should use good words. Think good thoughts. Build each other up. Be thankful for each other. Be gracious towards yourself and others. But the apples are a helpful reminder that our words and thoughts have power even if we can’t see their impact immediately.

Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit. 
Proverbs 15:4

Love the Nason Triplets Home!

I have known Tiffany Nason for years. She was one of the younger girls in the youth group when we joined Haywood. This is going to seem like a ‘diss,’ but I swear it isn’t one. Tiffany is one of those girls I fully expected to have a ‘normal’ life. She is beautiful and smart so you knew she’d get a great job, marry a nice guy, have 2 wonderful kids, and settle in for a peaceful non-bumpy life.

But when she got married it seemed like her and her husband decided that they were going to take some not as popular parts of the Bible very seriously.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Matthew 25:34-40

You probably didn’t read that, so I’ll break it down real quick Giphy-style:

God: Hey, I want to give you your inheritance because when I needed food or a drink or a friend or a jacket or healing or encouragement you were there.

Real Christians:

God: When you gave to the least of these, the ones everyone else forgot about or deemed not important, you were doing it for me.

Real Christians: 

 

So Tiffany and Matt are currently on a crazy adventure where they are, well, adopting babies left and right. No, seriously. In 4 short weeks they became mom and dad to a set of triplets. That’s in addition to the 3 children they already have.

Triplets.

That’ 3 babies.

That’s 6 kids total.

THAT’S INSANE.

And by insane I mean that they are living and loving in such a way that I look at God and say, “Wow. Your love is making things happen.”

The quickness of it all means that they have some financial/material needs that we can help with if you want to take a look.