God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Back to School: The Tale of a New Christian

 

Remember your first day of a new school year?

Everything crisp and clean.

New boxes of crayons and newly sharpened pencils tucked inside your favorite backpack.

Excitement lingering in the air.

New friends to meet.

New possibilities.

Remember taking that first day of school photo?

You wore the biggest smile.

You put on your best clothes.

 

Everything was just how it should be.

Whole.

Complete.

Nothing missing.

Perfection.

 

Then the first test came.

Whether it was Science test you bombed or the friends who asked you to pick sides.

There was always a test.

Suddenly, everything wasn’t so crisp and clean anymore.

Life began to get messy.

Mornings got harder.

Those perfect crayons and pencils were soon broken or lost.

You didn’t get the fun teacher for math.

Nope, you got the mean one.

The one you were certain wanted to ruin your social life with demanding amounts of homework and tests from hell.

Pretty soon, you found your heart yearning for summer.

 

When I became a Christian, I started out with that “Fall” attitude.

Full of energy.

Ready to go.

“Lord, send me!”

 

The Christian life seemed perfect.

Sunshine and a happy heart.

No problems from now on.

Jesus solved them all for me when He died on the cross.

 

I became a part of something.

I belonged with others like me, the Christian crowd was my home now.

I would never be lonely, confused or hurt again.

 

Then came the test.

My non-Christian friends knew I had changed, but I was still trying to fit in with them while telling them about my faith.

It wasn’t working.

The Christian crowd wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, either.

They could be cruel at times.

They seemed preoccupied.

To some of them “realness” seemed to pose a threat.

They had their “clicks”, too.

Loneliness set in.

 

I felt like the new kid walking into the cafeteria on the first day of school.

Where would I be able to sit?

It seemed I didn’t truly belong in either group.

 

Another test soon followed.

The things happening in my life hurt at times.

I had problems.

Real ones.

Ones that couldn’t be fixed by a cheery saying or a half-hearted promise of someone to pray for me.

No one told me this would happen.

I thought I was supposed to live happily ever after.

 

Soon dark clouds began to form over my sunny heart.

Questions formed.

Doubts developed.

Maybe I wasn’t a good enough Christian.

Maybe I should just try harder.

What was happening here?

Was I even saved?

 

Just like those perfect crayons in the fall, I began my journey as a Christian ready to be used.

Soon the new faded.

I began to feel like a box of crayons halfway through the school year.

I was coming unraveled.

I didn’t have my life together.

I had lots of broken pieces.

How could God use those?

I wondered if God could ever use a messed up person like me.

 

Could He ever put me back together again?

I wanted to impress God by being that perfectly sharpened pencil.

I didn’t want to break under the pressure.

I had to show Him that I could handle it.

 

That’s when I got it.

That’s when I understood.

I could not handle it.

He had to handle it for me.

Every time I wrestled with my sin, I seemed to come out on the losing end.

He didn’t die to make me perfect.

He died because I needed saving.

I still do.

Everyday.

 

How could I ever feel completely at home here?

I can’t.

I had become a citizen of heaven, leaving me feeling like a foreigner in a land where I once felt comfortable.

Now, I knew what the bible meant when it said, “Be in the world, not of it.”

Something clicked.

How could I expect to wear this world like a cozy pair of pajamas when even Jesus wandered through it without a place to truly call home?

Even the Son of Man had no place to lay His head.

 

Something else clicked, too.

I didn’t have to be that perfect box of crayons.

I didn’t have to have my colors all lined up on display to impress.

What impressed my God the most was and is my brokenness.

It brought Him to earth.

It caused Him to die for me.

Can broken crayons still be used?

Absolutely.

 

Broken crayons are the special ones when you think about it.

They are guided more closely and used with more care,.

Wonderful colors still come from them.

Colors that add to the beauty of the big picture.

God’s picture.

One that I can’t see right now.

That’s why I have to  place myself under His mighty hand.

 

He will lift me up.

He will use me.

Even on the messy, unraveled days, He will use me.

Even when all I have to offer is a worn numb, He will use me.

He will create His beauty in and through me.

All I have to do is be willing to let him use my whole box.

Lay everything I have and everything I am out before Him.

My pretty pieces and my broken pieces, too.

 

Trust God, friends when the road is beautiful and clear, but also know He is with you are your dark days, too.

He will never stop using you when you spill out your box before Him.

 

What was your experience as a new Christian like?

Was it similar to mine?

Was it different?

Do you know Jesus?

If not, what is stopping you?

 

 

 

 

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Pac-Man Praise

I used to love to go to Cheddar’s when I was a kid.

It had nothing to do with the food.

Nope.

Not at all.

If I drank my milk my grandmother would give me a quarter.

Back in the day a quarter went pretty far.

I would head straight to the video games.

One of my favorites was Pac-Man.

How many of you remember playing the original arcade game?

 

A special note to those of you who don’t know the game:

1) Trust me, you missed a great era.

2) Google it.

3) Read on anyway, you will get the idea.

 

Oh, the satisfaction that came from eating that big dot and getting rid of those ghosts!

Can you name all the ghosts in Pac-Man?

Pinky…Inky…Blinky….Happy…Doc…Dopey…Sneezy…Grumpy….

Ok so I can’t quite pass that test!

Maybe you can remember them all.

Maybe not.

I bet you can remember playing the game though.

Looking back now, I feel sorry for Pac-Man.

All he was trying to do was eat tons of dots to get to the next level.

That should be easy enough right?

Not a difficult task…UNTIL…the ghosts show up.

They harass the poor guy.

They try to eat him alive for goodness sake!

He now has to move faster to eat those dots AND he has to dodge them at the same time.

Talk about stress!

 

Have you ever felt like Pac-Man?

Your day begins with tasks laid out before you.

Everything seems calm and peaceful…Until…you guessed it…“the ghosts” come in to try to eat you alive!

Now I have no idea what “your ghosts” are.

They can be “down in the dumps” thinking or really anything that stresses you, drains you, or gets you off task.

They can quickly turn you from “Happy” to “Grumpy” as you go about your day.

Chances are you will encounter some this week.

So how can you respond to them?

Well…let’s see…WWPD?

 

What would Pac-Man do?

He eats the big dots as he goes about his day of tackling the little dots.

The big dots give Him energy.

All of a sudden the ghosts don’t seem so threatening anymore.

They become almost invisible.

He chases them down eats them up quickly, then gets back to business.

The big dots give him the strength to get the job done.

Today let’s focus on something that will bring you strength as you go about your day.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen.

You can just think of these in your head if you want.

Quickly write down 5 favorites.

These can be five favorite people, memories, places,  or things.

You name it.

It’s your list.

Don’t spend much time on this just write as quickly as you can.

You may be surprised by what you jot down.

Now take a moment and praise God.

He created ALL your favorite things and so much more.

Why?

He WANTS you to enjoy Him.

He WANTS you to praise Him.

He loves you.

You are one of His favorites.

The apple of his eye!

Colossians 3:1-2 (The Message)

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.

Pursue the things over which Christ presides.

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.

Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is.

See things from His perspective.”

Place the list you just made on your desk or somewhere you will see it often.

Take praise breaks here and there.

You can even add to it over time, if you want.

When the little dots seem to never end or the ghosts are chasing you all over the place, take out your list and praise!

 

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The Glow of Friendship

Last night my daughter had a sleepover to celebrate her 11th birthday.

Lots of girls, lots of cake, lots of laughter, and lots of fear.

Yep, that’s right.

The girls had fun most of the night until late night paranoia set in.

Suddenly someone heard heavy breathing followed by lots of gurgling.

I watched as they tried a variety of methods to make the sound stop.

They decided to change the room they slept in.

That didn’t work.

Maybe if they tried switching around the spots they slept in the sound would stop.

That didn’t work either.

I tried to explain that they were just hearing the sounds of each person beginning to fall asleep.

They looked at me like I had lost my mind for even suggesting such a thing.

“The thing we are afraid of is real. Can’t you see that?”, they seemed to say.

These girls were not hanging out in dark scary rooms.

As a matter of fact, the sleepover had a glow-in-the dark theme.

The girls were surrounded by light.

They slept in a sea of glow sticks and glow balloons, yet all they could think of was the darkness.

Have you ever noticed how emotion spreads through a group like wildfire?

One person gets scared, then fear spreads.

You talk to a negative person enough and suddenly you can see flaws in others you never saw before.

You get swept away in what appears to be real.

After all, if most of the group is feeling it maybe you are the crazy one.

 

Is it wrong to share your feelings with friends?

Should you just walk around with a plastic smile?

Of course not.

Emotion isn’t bad at all, but accepting the emotion as the complete reality you are living in is dangerous.

It’s like being in a dark room full of those glow sticks yet never seeing the light all around you.

Have you ever noticed that glow sticks don’t last forever?

Eventually they just burn out.

You can’t create your own light.

I can’t either.

That’s why we need the light of God in our life.

We have to spend enough time in God’s word, that His word becomes the last word to resonate in our hearts when we feel the darkness closing in.

If we don’t keep returning to Him our light won’t stay lit.

We will burn out.

We will break down.

We will give in to whatever emotions we create and feed off the emotions of others.

Emotions aren’t wrong, but they aren’t always reality either.

That’s why our group of friends is so important.

The good ones will call you on your crazy and allow you to call them on theirs.

We all need people in our lives to tell us like it is with their mouths while they point us to God with their fingers.

Choose your friends wisely.

They will become the climate you acclimate to.

You will become like the people you are around.

Remember friend, they will also become like you.

The girls in our home may have been a little scared last night, but they woke up this morning laughing, loving and hugging.

Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

Real friends will walk with you through both seasons.

If you have the kind of friends who encourage you, who point you to Jesus and aren’t afraid to call you on your crazy, give them a little shout out in the comment section below these words.

Tell us what you love about them and why.

Share this blog post on Facebook and tag them.

Good friends are hard to find.

Let’s thank God for them today!

 

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You Won’t Be Sorry

“I’m sorry I took up so much of your time.”

“I’m sorry I talked so much.”

“This is probably a silly idea…”

“I probably shouldn’t be so…”

So much time is spent apologizing.

Just think of the people you have been around this week.

How often have you heard the words, “I’m sorry”?

How often have you said them?

Why do you apologize for who you are?

Why do I?

What are you really doing when you apologize?

You, my friend, are buying into the big lie.

The one that says you aren’t enough.

The one that says you are too much.

The voice in your head that says you must tone it down or crank it up.

The one that says you aren’t okay.

So you strive to fit in.

You take some of you and cram it in the corner.

You take the light, the essence of who you are and you cover it.

If people lifted the veil, they wouldn’t like what they see, you tell yourself.

Right now, right here, let me rip that veil and expose the lie.

The one that keeps you from being you.

The one that holds you back.

Funny thing, that lie isn’t really about you at all.

It’s more about God.

When you hide or change, you are really saying you want to hide or change the God who made you.

He didn’t make you to be enough.

He made you to be too much.

He must have messed up because you aren’t perfect.

Most lies have a hint of truth to them.

This one is no exception.

You see, friend, if you were enough Jesus would not have had to die for you.

That part is true.

Listen closely.

Stop thinking about all the things you have to do today and dwell on this.

Jesus in you.

Jesus shining through your weakness is enough.

He will work in you.

He will work through you, but to allow Him to do it, you must pull those hidden parts from the corner and bring them out into the world.

Don’t be afraid of who you are.

Your boldness may just speak what needs to be heard.

Your quietness may bring calm to a situation that’s getting out of control.

Your vision may help others to see.

Your faith may bring others courage.

Your words may speak straight to a discouraged heart.

He made you that way.

Don’t be sorry!

He is making you everyday.

Shaping you in His image, to do His will.

His perfect, pleasing, good will is working in you right now.

Will you let it shine?

Will you stop apologizing and shoving parts of yourself into that corner?

You don’t belong there.

Jesus certainly doesn’t belong there.

Be beautiful you.

Shine.

Someone needs what you have today.

Even when you think you bring nothing, when God is working through you, you are always bringing something.

Be a light bringer.

Today, encourage others to just be themselves, by just being yourself.

 

 

 

 

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