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For Your Approval

Honesty, Integrity, Authentic, Accountability

Just a few things that frame the way I am the way I am.

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For Your Approval, not so much. Which has others seeing me as unashamed, bold, intimidating, fearless, and blunt. I’m sure if I tried to recall more I could, but those are a few I immediately can hear and see the faces who spoke them.

Really, what it means… I believe we are ALL unique and created for amazing purposes- that aren’t our own!! We were All meant to Shine.{Matt. 5:16}  So others, could know the kind of love, grace, and mercy that has been given to each of us.

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But still, there are some, and yes some that sit in church every Sunday and even share pretty pictures and praise Him- when it serves their purposes… that will hurt you, betray you, and even worse they will try to make it about Jesus.  A friend, wise mentor, and strong godly example just recently walked me through something hard.  She told me to take the label of “Christian” off the front of friendship.  She told me it only gave some the power to misuse and manipulate you in the name of Jesus. No different than a bully. And what she didn’t say, that I thought long and hard over… is found all throughout the book of 1 John,  are they really even a child of God? Well, I cannot answer that and I won’t answer that. I just pondered it.

Loving others is the truest mark of our Christ filled lives. Not just the faces we can easily love, but the unlovable and hard to love ones, the ones who could never return such a love. The ones who hurt and betray us, we are called to love.  We are all sinners. We all fall short of glory in every day, likely multiple ways.  But if we are living in sin, it is a much different thing. Living in, is the willful act of practicing a lifestyle contrary to the one we are called to live when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

At 43 with 4 kids from college down kindergarten, you can guess I have had my share of beautiful and some broken relationships. I also have the privilege of parenting my children through their own great and not so fun friendships/ relationships. All the while, practicing what I know and preach along the way. Because my children, live what they know. And they seem to know what they see louder than what they hear!! {not sure where they get that}

As I child, when I wasn’t hamming it up in front of the video camera singing John Denver. Or boldly dancing through the house belting out Whitney Houston, writing out poems by the light of my alarm clock, or talking and asking questions I’d only turn around and answer myself making my dad crazy!! I was observing everything. I had a big personality to distract from the reality of knowing life was as uncertain as this years election. The winds blew in many different directions minute by minute in our house and it was surely someone’s next pleasure to accept the blame. I saw the good, bad, & ugly that comes from trying to please everyone. I watched stories change and retold depending on the audience. I watched the earth shatter when approval couldn’t be met. I saw it drastically change the lives around and it was nothing short of damaging to all.

You might say, I learned in reverse. Opposite of becoming a victim, I learned all the things I didn’t want to become and wouldn’t be or do. Early on, I did my everything to ensure I would be the exact opposite- in my strength. That is until I handed my life over to higher hands. I’m an all or nothing kinda girl. No sense in living half way. I rest easy within clear lines and rules. And when we decide to follow Jesus- it’s pretty Simple. Believe in who He is, what He came to do, and How He died for our Sins-fully. That’s a verb, believe. It means we must grow in our knowing of Who He truly Is!! & we must Love like He does. That’s where it gets muddy for people. We love to learn. But do we love to apply what we’ve learned? Not always. Because we also love Easy and Simple. We are today no different than those who have gone before us. We are and have always been set up for failure. At every turn, of the world or Christians, we are told we are not good enough. Come as you are- but only if you aren’t broken, look good, and have it all together. So we stay Simple. Oh Sweet Friends, You’re standing on the Shore of an Amazing Life He has for you. Jesus says “Come as you are.” Broken and messy. He doesn’t need good enough. It’s with the broken and messy we get to see His love, mercy, and power. You’ll never be good enough or perfect this side of heaven. No matter your silly title, stage you take, money in your account, house you build, or life you make.

Follow me {Matthew 9:9}… Just as you are today and I’ll show you the way.

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Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s the very teaching and instruction for every relationship we will ever have here this side of heaven. It’s what makes us able to not look to others for approval because we know where our only approval truly matters. It’s what enables us to give grace and forgiveness to the unlikeliest recipient because we will never be able to be perfect and we too are unmerited in the grace we receive daily- minute by minute some days. It’s what allows us to play second fiddle to people who are still trying in all their own might to make sure we ” Know Who They Are” so much more important than I surely could ever want to be!! But mostly, it’s the very teaching we need to love those who others look past- the ones others choose to label and decide are not worthy. Maybe they are living a life in bondage, lonely and hurting, maybe their face is a bit different, maybe they don’t have fancy clothes or drive the right car. Any reason is simply putting ourselves above others. And today, that’s the societal “norm”. And I’m not living to live a normal life.

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I have made hard choices and have heard the best insults!! And I’m sure when I look back at those moments- I would not trade a single fruit for the life “they thought” I should be living.

Family is everything to me and choosing to teach my children to love our family first so they can love others in the way they should- I look at my oldest and see the most caring and giving son. Because of deciding to not be normal.

I have watched others teach they children to pray for those who treat them wrong- which sounds great when motive and methods are pure. Genuine and authentic reverence for Jesus to be our advocate is a life giving gift to our children. God will not be mocked.  Our motives and methods, they do matter. Our children, at the very least, are learning from us.

We can know God and still not Know God. It’s a terrible thing to be full of knowledge and miss the life He intended because we are still so busy living for Me.

Trusting others is hard. When it is broken, letting people go is hard too. We try to figure out why or what we did. But recently, I let myself wander for only a little while. I did a lot praying and praising Him for the work He is always doing in our home. Life here is not the picture you might have. Swirling storms of Frozen yes. We have a lot of days I am sure Satan claims a victory. But we do know and believe the things others mean for harm {Gen. 50:20}, or the weeds that grow in the middle of your beautiful garden, it will all be used for glory. His glory.

surrender your whole being to him

Living with empty hands for Him to fill, {Hebrews 10:10-12} it’s not easy but we Can Do Hard Things!! He is forever reminding me of all the ways and times He meets me right in the middle of the darkest hours. He is alive and moving in the midst of the mundane to the depths of the deepest valleys. He lets us have peaks from the mountain peeks of the splendor. And we begin anew each time we fall. Standing stronger. He is sufficient. He is enough. He is All we need.

In free- will, He lets us wander and live independently from His way and plan. He never changes He never leaves us. He created us for a Life Bigger than We could Ever Imagine. A plan He has purposes us for Beyond our Wildest Dreams. {Eph.3:20} Free-will. Do we hold tightly more focused to those people in our lives ? Or the One who created us?

Oddly, we believe if our focus isn’t on the ones we love we are neglecting them. When truly we neglect them by not keeping eyes fixed on Jesus. Author and perfecter. He shows us our way, our purpose, the way to live in love. How to love others the way they need to be. Instead we frustrate ourselves trying to fix people and in our own strength we try to do it all. We can’t. But when others see us living for Him and Him alone they see the Holy Spirit moving in our lives, freeing them to be blessed themselves by truly coming to know The Great I AM.

We cannot try to be all to those in our lives, or try to prove our way is best, or show those who wrong us just how wrong they are. A lesson I will learn the deepest and most meaningful way through my children.  But I see the brightest light when I look at this picture, the healing evident by living the way He asks me to, it is the light inside my daughter.  That’s living for something hard and beyond my natural. That’s obedience and glory only the Father could make beautiful!!

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We are to Shine a Light. We cannot Be more than who he made us be. But we can live in such a way that when they look at us- they see the Big God that we Love and Live for!! Magnify &  Multiply our Magnificent Lord Jesus Christ!!

And to do that, we have to want to put others before ourselves. It is absolutely a necessary tiny detail… And that detail, it holds so many back from the narrow path.  It’s a busy road, and lots of people are there to keep us company.  The problem is it’s the wrong path, the road less traveled, it’s truly the simple and most abundant way to live- when we decide with our whole hearts, minds, and souls “It’s not about me.” We make that decision when we get married, when we have children, we let someone go before us in line at the grocery… How do we make it so hard on ourselves to choose it when it matters most? Life eternal, kind of mattering most?? How do we deiide to make our ways higher and all-knowing? We can’t even fathom the greatness of our God, but we certainly think we can tell Him how to get it done faster and better.  He’s holding the moon in place until night, and turning this earth so that we don’t fall off, seeing us cry out to the heavens for mercy, and every other detail we don’t even credit. But somehow, we stick Him in a box and say that “We got this and We are good.”

God sent Jesus down to live a life that would make Himself known. He endured the punishment for our sins, died upon that cross for you and I. For our sins, all of them. None were to big or to small- none were, or are, or will be overlooked. He sees us. He hears us. He Knows us by name. He came to make a place in our heart, so that others through us and our lives- the tee tiniest of tasks… Others would see Him. Know Him and have a grace, a love, a forever eternal forgiveness… We come to the end of us- not to give up dreams of what life could be.. But to begin a life in the supernatural of Beyond our naturally simple minds kind of dreams. We were made for so much more. So if you’re a child of God and feel like you’re alone and misunderstood… Chances are you’re right where he wants you. Don’t quit. Don’t stop living for Him.

What do gain if the whole world loves you?

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