My “Reel” Story

ReelChurch of the Highlands is my home church in Birmingham, AL.  We are currently in one of my favorite annual series, “At The Movies.”   Each week our pastor plays clips from a movie, then makes great spiritual applications.  It is creative, touching, hope-filled and a great evangelism tool.

I have a real life, but I have asked myself, if my life was a movie for all to see, what clips would I want shown? What clips would offer hope, and sway people for God?

Here are a few clips, from my real story that  I would want in my “reel” story:

  1. When you have rough beginnings as a child, God still has a plan for your life. My life growing up was quite difficult, yet God had a plan to find me, change my life and use me for His glory.  How life started does not have to determine how it ends.
  2. When life doesn’t turn out like you had hoped, allow God to take your lemons and make lemonade. The woman who led me to the Lord was never married. She wanted to be married and have a family of her own, but it never happened.  Yet, she allowed God to use her to be a spiritual mother to many.  I am a product of her encouragement and training.   I can only imagine the number of people she touched, who then touched others, who then touched others.
  3. When you’ve messed up, forgive yourself. I was ridiculously hard on myself for the mistakes I made as a wife, mother and woman of God.   I allowed mistakes to hold me back way too long.  There is life after mistakes!
  4. Choose to enjoy life. There will be periods of hardship, periods of deep grief, periods of unfairness.  Don’t let those drain you of joy forever.  Live again. Laugh again. Love again.
  5. Serve others. By nature, I am very introverted and could spend most of my time alone.    As I have allowed God to use me in a variety of settings, not just teaching, I have found there is great joy in being His servant.
  6. Leave a legacy. At the end of movies, there are often paragraphs flashed on the screen.  Those paragraphs tell the rest of the story, and often the legacy left behind. In my “reel” life, my hope is for paragraphs that say, “She made a difference for God – a tangible difference in the lives of family, and in the lives of those with whom she crossed paths.”

We all have a real life.  But, what if you had a “reel” life?  What would the story say?  Your story is still being written, and you can still make a “reel” change.  Live life to its fullest; live for God.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  – Ephesians 2:10

It Was Just A Little Thing She Did…But Little Things Matter

Little ThingsA while back, I was going through a bit of a rough patch emotionally.  Even when we know Jesus Christ, even when we are leaders, we are humans. Stuff happens and hearts hurt. I’m not one to publicize or talk much about my own hurting heart.

One day during my period of heart heaviness, I walked to the mailbox to get the mail.  As I sat down to sort through the mail, I noticed a card.  There was no special occasion, so it caught my attention.  The name of the sender was in the left hand corner, and it was a dear friend that I rarely see.

I opened the envelope and there was a card with a very kind, sweet message. Also enclosed in the envelope was a gift card for Panera Bread.  This woman is aware of my love for Panera!   Her words basically said, I was just thinking of you and wanted to send this to bless you.   It brought a smile to my face and to my heart.

It was just a little thing, but little things matter.

As I write this blog post today, I am sitting in Panera on a chilly day, sipping a wonderful cup of coffee compliments of my friend.  As a matter of fact, this is probably the tenth cup of coffee I have enjoyed compliments of my friend.    I have prepared many of my small group teachings sitting in Panera, while sipping  coffee.  The gift card has been a gift that keeps on giving, and EVERY time I use it, I think of my friend and smile.  I’ve even texted her to say, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee on you.

Sometimes we think we cannot make a difference in people’s lives.  We aren’t rich enough, or crafty enough, or creative enough, or spiritual enough …. but, all it takes sometimes is a text, a card, an email, a call or some small thing.   Those small things can bring a smile, offer encouragement, and raise a heart that is down.

It was just a little thing she did…but little things matter.  

“So encourage each other and build each other up…” – 1 Thessalonians  5:11

I Can’t Believe How Big My Shoe Is!

God is BiggerAs I opened the package left by my door, I was so excited.  For my birthday, my son and his family sent me new athletic shoes – new cool-looking blue ones, trimmed in bright green.   I pulled them out of the box, and was shocked how big they looked.  Was my foot really that big?

I put the shoes on and they fit perfectly and looked great.  Still, I could not believe my foot was that big. I am a fairly tall woman, but normally I wear a six-and-a-half shoe, and occasionally I need a seven.  But, as I looked at the shoes they looked huge, like something Goliath might wear.

As I sat there a few minutes, looking at the shoes, I was about ready to send them back.   I stared at the shoes; I focused on the enormity of the shoes.  As I sat down to think about the largeness of the shoes, I  took off my reading glasses for a few minutes.  When I looked at the shoes again, they looked much smaller.  It was then I realized, that the shoes looked huge because I had on thick reading glasses.  The size of the shoe depended on the lens through which I viewed it.

Thus, it is with life!

Recently I found myself overwhelmed at all the problems in our world, and in the lives of people.  I am praying for/with people who have serious things going on in life – things that look so large, they scare me.  I can easily step into the realm of looking at them through the lens of my own human eyes and understanding.  They look so big – I wish I could just send them back!

Then, I remember that I must look through the lens of the incredible God with whom I walk, and to whom I pray. One of the hardest lessons we learn is that God is FAR bigger than any problem or circumstance.

In the story of Abraham in scripture, there is a narrative of Abraham trudging up the mountain of sacrifice.  As he got the altar and the wood ready, Isaac was puzzled, and asked, “Father, where is the sacrifice?” Abraham responded, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”  Abraham walked up the side of the mountain, with faith that God would provide.  As Abraham and his son walked up one side of the mountain of life, God was already walking up the other side to provide what was needed.

The truth is that we do face trials in our lives that are bigger than we are. God is okay for us to acknowledge that WE ARE NOT bigger than some of the things we face.  He also wants us to know that HE IS bigger than all of those things.

What hard mountain are you walking up today?  Put on the lens of faith – the lens that sees that God is already walking up the other side of the mountain, and He will provide what is needed.  God is bigger than your mountain.

“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” – Psalm 147:5

The Main Thing

820c80f0902b11e3a7bc127d7faeb64d_8As a wife to my husband, and mother of three sons, I am glad I know a few things about football.   My husband tells me often how blessed he is to have a wife who will watch the games with him, and can actually discuss what is going on!  Roll Tide and Go Gamecocks!

Occasionally I read fan boards after a game.  It’s interesting to see how fans react when their team plays well, or not so well. Some of it is downright mean.  But, there is one thing that always makes me shake my head: when people major on something that doesn’t matter, or makes no difference in the game.

There is a well-known sportscaster who often mispronounces names, or even assigns the wrong name to a player. It floors me that there will be twenty-five comments about the wrong name.  There are cries that he should be fired over THE WRONG NAME!  That has nothing to do with the outcome of the game.   It’s a side issue that gets one away from the main issue – the game.

How easy in Christianity it is to major on things that don’t matter – things that have no bearing on the game.   Just so we can get an idea of what is meant by side issues that are not game changers, I will list a few.   The list is just to stimulate your thinking.

  1. A coffee shop has a solid red cup, but it doesn’t say Merry Christmas on it. (Who cares!)
  2. The music is too loud. (Wear earplugs.  I have worn them on occasion.)
  3. I’m leaving the church because they are changing the name. (Yep! I’ve actually seen this more than once.)
  4. While preaching, the minister says one thing you disagree with, and after that there is nothing good in the message, the church or the minister.
  5. While listing names of those who helped with a project,  your name was left off.
  6. The pastor would not change what you thought should be changed.

None of these things will rescue one soul from hell.  None of these things will make an eternal difference.  They are side issues from the main issue – Jesus Christ.

Beloved, it’s time to get back to keeping the main thing the main thing.  The most important thing that people need is Jesus –  knowing Him, trusting Him, following Him. It is so easy to get tripped up on discussions and quarrels that aren’t central to the faith.

By no means are we to ignore everything, or turn a blind eye to everything, but we must check ourselves to be sure we keep the focus on the main point: Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And what is the main thing? The main thing is knowing God and making Him known.

Tangled Messes

headsetMy husband Gaylon, who is affectionately known as my boyfriend, is very helpful.   He often rescues me from messes I have created. Gaylon has rescued me a few hundred times from tangled earphones.

It seems I am always in a hurry, so when leaving the gym, I cram my earphones into the side pocket of my purse.  I don’t take the one minute necessary to put them away neatly.  The next time I go to the gym, I will reach into the purse to get my earphones.   Inevitably, they are a tangled mess, and it takes a while to get them untangled.   It slows me down, sidetracks me and frustrates me.  Yet, the whole mess could have been avoided by making a right choice.

Gaylon is always so kind to untangle them for me, but he says, “Why don’t you take time to do it right, and then you won’t always have a tangled mess?”  I know he loves me, but I can sense his frustration that I continue intentionally creating tangled messes, and want him to untangle them.

Can we have a “for real” conversation here?

God has given us the power to have victory over creating tangled messes.  Is life messy sometimes, and it’s no fault of ours?  Of course!  As I often say, life shows up for all of us! There are also many messes that we create by bad choices.

I totally believe God has a will for my life and for your life.  He has a destiny for us, but we don’t automatically receive destiny.  Walking in God’s will is a choice.  Making choices that one knows are not Godly choices, can get us out of God’s will, and set into motion things He never intended.

Example:  If I need or want more money, and I decide to steal from my company, that is an unwise choice.  That can set in motion getting caught, getting fired, losing everything and possibly spending time in prison.  None of those things are God’s will, and instead interrupt God’s will, setting in motion things He never intended.

Can God redeem the wrong choices?  Yes!  Thank God for that!  But, it does not mean all repercussions will be gone.

In life, let’s take the time to put away the earphones, instead of choosing to make a mess.

Choose Godly.  Choose wisely.

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.”  – Proverbs 3:1,2