Goodbye dolphins

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This is the sticker on my son’s bedroom wall. I love this dolphin. My son had a turquoise dolphin themed room. This weekend, we paint and rearrange the room. He’s a freshman in high school now. It’s time.

As the mom, I’m heavy hearted. I am sad he’s outgrown his kid room. I’m happy he’s maturing and growing. In general, I’m overwhelmed with yet another change.

Life is stuck, yet full of change these days. We are stuck at home or behind a mask. We can’t do “normal” things we used to do. We are doing school from home and working from home and watching new movie releases from home. Church is at home on the couch watching a Livestream. For our family, finances have stayed stable thankfully. For many of my friends, finances had a major change and with that comes a new budget and cutting things out of your life. More change.

What do I want to say this week in my blog? Change is inevitable – covid or not. Grieve the loss that comes with the change. Embrace the joy that comes with something new. Allow yourself to feel the up and down of change. Don’t rush the process.

As we emptied his room of his childhood, I moved the dolphin sticker to my room. It doesn’t match my decor but I love it. It reminds me of childhood dreams and delights. I have joy when I see it. If you are encountering a change, keep a reminder of the past. Allow the memories to bring joy. Next, move forward to what’s ahead.

Dream Big! Pray Big! Embrace change.

Calling Out To You

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If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Yesterday I finally watched the movie, War Room (great movie about God’s grace and the power of prayer), 2 Chronicles showed on the screen at the end of the movie. I flashed back to 20 years ago when I first heard this verse. Tommy Walker wrote a song, Calling Out To You, based on this verse. It was right at the time of 9/11. How appropriate the song was at that time. How appropriate it is now.

So friends, are you praying? Are you praying for healing for those with Covid? Or for safety for firefighters and containment of the wildfires in California? Or for peace in the protests against police brutality? Or for understanding that racism is an issue that needs to be dealt with and fixed? Or for those who don’t know Jesus to know Him?

The verse tells us that if WE

My people (those of use who claim Christ as our Savior) would

Humble themselves (realize we can’t do it and God needs to intervene) and

Pray (pray when you rise up, when you sit down, all day long when it comes to mind) and

Seek My face (spend time with God and in His word) and

Turn from our wicked ways (He’s not asking the non-believers to change their ways, but us – His children. This verse is directed to My people. God loves everyone, but when we accept the gift of His Son Jesus, we become His people.

Then GOD WILL

Hear from heavenAnd if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~ I John 5:15 NIV

Forgive our sinIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – I John 1:9 NIV

Heal our land – This verse, in context was written to the Israelites, God’s chosen people, after Solomon dedicated the Temple to God. They had a covenant with God, if they obeyed, He would bless. We aren’t not under this covenant. We are under the new covenant, Jesus. In truth, this verse doesn’t mean that God will heal our land as He promised the Israelites. It does, however, remind us that the lifestyle He expected of the Israelites, He also expects from us – humility, prayer, time with Him, repentance. Those truths we can count on.

Friends I ask you to humble yourself, pray, spend time with God, and repent of your sin. In doing these things, you can be assured of His peace, presence, and hope in your daily life. While it may not mean the world will right itself, it does mean that you are a walking, talking testament to who God is and how He is our source of hope and peace. As others see the change in you, they too will be drawn to Jesus. That is what will ultimately change our world – more people deeply in love with Jesus.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

It’s Your Responsibility

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On Sunday, Pastor Tate said that “you are responsible for your spiritual health.” We take care of our physical health by exercising and consuming proper foods. We let go of our physical health by not exercising (guilty!) and consuming too many processed foods. We nurture our mental health by seeking a counselor or venting to a friend. We let go of our mental health by bottling it all up and sitting in denial. So are you taking care of or letting go of your spiritual health?

Your church provides you with tools to grow. Your job is to show up at church (even if it’s just online), listen actively (I know your Bible is on your phone but if you start playing solitaire after looking up John 3:16, go back to using a paper Bible), and then apply what you learned. Show up. Right now is the easiest time to attend church regularly – it’s online. You can wear your PJs or workout clothes. You don’t have to brush your teeth and you can eat during the sermon. There is no reason miss church right now. Even when we can return to the sanctuary, most churches offer Saturday night, Sunday early, Sunday mid morning and Sunday evening services. There is no reason to miss church and the opportunity to gain new tools to help you grow.

Do you listen actively at church? What does that mean? It means you aren’t planning brunch (in your head or on your phone) while in the middle of the service. You aren’t daydreaming or making a to do list. You are listening to the sermon. You are actively listening. I ask my kids after church what their take-away is. They need to have listened enough to get one nugget of truth or application for their life. Do that for yourself. What was your takeaway from the weekend sermon you attended? I’d love for you to share it in the comment section. (By the way, your takeaway can come from worship and prayer time as well. God uses all of it to speak to us.)

Apply what you learned. Once you start requiring yourself to find a takeaway by actively listening during the sermon, apply it to your life. Make a change. What can you do differently – add to your life or take out of your life – to implement this growth you uncovered? Christians should be growing constantly. We aren’t made to coast. We are made to be growing into the image of Christ. We aren’t called to be stagnant.

Friends, this week, better yet – today!, make it a point to take responsibility for your spiritual health. What are you going to do differently as a result of this blog, Sunday’s sermon, the worship CD you listened to, or your prayer time with God? Listen actively in your life and apply what you hear. You will find your spiritual health improving day by day.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Lessons from the Beach

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God and I had tea every morning at Pacific Beach last week. I am changed from that time. For those who follow me on Facebook, you have seen me posting some backyard pictures of me having tea with God. When I have a quiet morning, that is where I head – out back, to my patio, with my tea and God.

This past week, my family spent 5 days at Pacific Beach in San Diego. Annual tradition and vacation for us. We felt safe because our hotel had great Covid guidelines and we were masked walking to/from our apartment to the beach. (About a 1 minute walk by the way. Incredible.) Each morning around 7:30 or 8 am, I ventured to the beach with my new travel mug (thanks Krys) filled with Earl Grey, my beach chair, and my journal. I wish this was normal life. I can’t tell you how wonderful those morning were (The whole trip was amazing, actually) but I can tell you what I learned in my tea time with God.

When you spend time with God (on the beach, in your backyard, in bed, on a walk, wherever you connect with Him), He always shows up. Not in the ways you always expect though. Some days, He and I people-watched. I prayed for strangers. I laughed at frolicking dogs. One day, I saw a pod of dolphins – a true gift from God to watch the beauty of His creation. Another day, I had to do a tiny bit of work and we did it together. I didn’t get great revelations about my future or an area to work on to grow deeper in Him. I have had those types of teas with Him, not this past week. Just sitting with my friend and breathing was enough.

God lifts your weary soul when you spend time with Him. I saw a friend (6 feet apart) when I got home from the beach. She said that my “eyes were smiling.” The beach had refreshed me. I recently read an article about types of rest – spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social, sensory, and creative. My week at the beach gave me rest in most of those areas just by being there. Spiritual rest is a choice. I have to choose to spend time with God. In that time, I rest in His presence. Being with God is not a to do item. It’s a place of rest and rejuvenation.

“you will fill me with joy in your presence…” ~ Psalm 16:11 NIV

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~ Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

Lastly, what I achieved at the beach – rest in His presence – I can do anywhere. Being at the beach made it easier to be still and listen. My prayer as I left was for me to be able to be still with Him and keep this place of contentment, peace, and trust in Him when I returned home. On those mornings at the beach, my anxiety fled, my worries were lifted up to Him, and my future confidently was placed in His control. I want to stay in that place of peace. I plan to stay there. When I venture back to worry, anxiety, fear, over-planning, etc., I will return to His presence and relearn my lessons from the beach.

Dream Big! Pray Big!