Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Do You Measure Success?

When you lay your head on your pillow at night and go through your day, what makes you feel like you were a success? Did you cross everything off your to-do list? Is it that you didn't yell at your children all day, or that you fixed your family a home cooked meal? Maybe you closed a deal you've been working on for months. What criteria do you use to define success?  Does it match up with what God says about you?

I used to define success as days when I prayed, read my Bible, cleaned my house and was the perfect wife and mother. Well..that's just not possible, so I really never FELT like a success.

That feeling of not being successful can weigh a person down, and I've been thinking about it quite a bit lately. I recently read the Jesus Calling devotional, and it spoke directly to my heart. Our success is found in Him. It is found in abiding in Him and His words abiding in us. When we are in constant contact with Him, He can be our guide moment by moment.

Our ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around us - it is to keep in communion with God. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment. He will keep you close to Me.  Jesus Calling

Proverbs 3:6 - In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Friday, April 11, 2014

No such thing as flawless

One of my favorite Biblical characters is King David. He messed up in a huge way but kept a tender heart before the Lord. He was always real with His Father. Psalm 142 says that he poured his complaints to God. I have always thought about the fact that David is called a man after God's own heart, and I believe it is because God had his heart. I mean, when you read some of the Psalms, David says some crazy stuff that most of us would be too scared to utter - especially to God!

I have endeavored to keep my relationship with God genuine. I usually spend the first 20 minutes or so of my day talking to God and giving Him all my cares, concerns and all the "ick" in my heart. Engaging with God this way consistently has brought so much peace. We are not made to bear the weight of all the burdens that come on us in this world.

The other day, as I was washing off all my makeup, it hit me that after spending time being real with God, I then take about 20 minutes to make up my face in an attempt to cover all of my flaws. We all want to put our best foot forward, but at what point to we just say, "here I am - like it or not?" I have had too many fake relationships that I am in the place now where I crave true community. I want friends who know me, flaws and all, and still love me.

It is vital that, if I am wanting to be loved unconditionally, then I must love unconditionally. Many years ago, I would get close enough to someone to see their flaws and then not stick around to love them regardless of those flaws. Now that I have had years of loving people in their icky places and also receiving love in my not so pretty places; there is so much freedom in that place of true friendship. Isn't that what we all want - to be accepted just like we are? Let's practice accepting others just the way they are. After all, the only person who could ever claim to be flawless is Jesus and He thinks we are all pretty great :) 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I was listening to a podcast recently and the pastor gave this commentary on motherhood by Dale Hanson Bourke. It really ministered to my heart and I thought y'all might also enjoy it. 

She was sitting in a coffee shop with a friend who asked her opinion on whether or not she and her husband should have a child. This was her response.

"It will change your life, I tell her. she said 'I know, no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.' That is not what I meant at all. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw, she will forever be vulnerable.  

I look at her carefully manicured nails and her stylish clothes and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a she bear protecting her cub. I want my friend to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine, every day decisions regarding the safety and well being of her child will all of the sudden feel like the most important decisions she will ever make. However decisive she is everywhere else, she will second guess herself constantly as a mother. 

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, while so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. She would give herself up in a moment's notice, but she will also begin to hope and pray for more years not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs. I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. A visible trophy of motherhood.

I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your son learn to hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

My friend's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. 'You'll never regret it,' I say finally. Then I reach across the table, and squeezing my friend's hand. I offer a silent prayer for her, and me, and all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this holiest of callings."