Choose to Serve, Not React

I had a job once where I worked with a lady who seemingly despised me. If I wrongfully did something to offend her, I was never aware of what it was. It was hard to go in and love her daily despite her actions toward me and there were lots of days I failed. 

In Luke 10:3, Jesus tells a group of people that he is sending them as lambs among wolves. Sheep are timid, non-resistant, and submissive. Wolves, however, are sly, self-serving, and aggressive.

Our natural reaction is to become aggressive with our words, or maybe even our actions when we feel we’ve been wronged. But, when we’re able to look outside of our feelings, we can see that our choice to react or to serve regardless makes all the difference in the direction of where it all goes. 

I want to encourage us to serve, even when it isn’t deserved. We never know what the motivation is behind the actions of others, but we should be aware that we’re all broken. Being broken makes us do some dumb and mean things sometimes without really ever thinking twice about it. We don’t deserve to be served by Jesus, yet he shows up on the daily with open arms. Let’s do the same for others.


Faith Over Fear

Have you ever felt called to something, but things aren't quite lining up? Let's say it's a career change, but you didn't get that job. It leaves you doubting your faith, doubting if you really can hear God, and doubting your abilities.

If you truly feel called to something, you probably are. However, there are so many ways to do the thing we are being asked to do and I believe that a lot of times God puts the calling in our minds and hearts before it's really time to move.

Stay in His word. Pray and seek him diligently. He has a great plan for you, but it doesn't unfold all at once. There are walls to tear down and sins He wants to remove privately before the thing grows and becomes what it's supposed to be. If you don't let him prepare you and chisel away at the imperfections first, how will the dream succeed?

Keep going. Trust that He has your best interest at heart because He does.


Let the Heavy Stuff Fall

Do you ever feel the weight of the whole world on your shoulders? It feels extremely heavy and some days it's impossible to carry it.

I'm that person in the store who thinks I can reach and hold something awkward and heavy only to have it come crashing down because I should've just asked for help. Embarrassing right? In those times, I'd like to just walk out the door and salvage whatever dignity I have left.

Usually, someone is nice enough to help my clumsy self. With that thought, I began thinking about how huge community is. We need each other. And we need a Savior. Pride gets in the way so often, but when we have the courage to pull back our curtains, there is brokenness in many forms.

Maybe you feel like you're carrying the weight of the whole world today. Or maybe you literally have a load to carry that's too heavy (groceries, boxes, etc)! We all have things that are too heavy to carry alone. Let the pride melt away and know that you don't have to be strong all of the time.

I wish that we could all let go of our pride, busyness, and fears and just be a friend to one another.

And there is one thing that's constant no matter what. We have a Savior who wants to serve us. He wants to bear our burdens with us. He didn't promise an easy road, but he promised to be with us and even offers to carry us in our weakest moments.

Let the heavy stuff fall and allow someone to help you pick it up and carry it.


Finding Wholeness in Your Creator, Not Your Spouse

I remember being so tired of looking for Mr. Right. After several disappointments, I told God I was done and that I was waiting for Him to show me. And I meant it. Not long after that, I saw Michael walking in at church and I knew. I felt something that only the Holy Spirit can allow you to feel. I told my mom I was going to marry him before I had even talked to him.

Something I learned through waiting and in the first few years of marriage was that I was putting my focus into feeling complete through the man I would and did marry. After a lot of disappointments (Michael has had his share of disappointments in me too), I began seeking answers. I was angry and asked myself what the point was in marriage if there are so many let downs.

It was when I started focusing on Him to feel complete and not Michael that I was able to start loving him the way God intended. I no longer felt a longing for completeness. Our marriage slowly started to be more about serving the other person. People disappoint, even our spouses. Looking for wholeness in them is like looking for light in a pitch dark room.

Find your completeness in the one who died for you many years ago and longs to be the one who makes you feel whole.

Share in the comments how you met your hubby? I'd love to hear! 


Don't Be A Complacent Christian

My actions don't line up with who God has created me to be and I'm determined to change that.

On Saturday, Michael and I had dinner in downtown. If you don't already know this, you easily run into people who are homeless there. I know we see at least 1 or 2 living this unfortunate reality everytime we go.

I'm pretty sure one of them was trying to get our attention. I saw him looking our way out of the corner of my eye and heard him talking. What did I do? I ignored him. I pretended like I didn't see or hear anything. Shame on me.

You may be justifying in your head that I made a reasonable decision and at one point I would've too. They are probably going to ask for money and the best solution is to just ignore them, right? Wrong.

I should've gone over and talked to him. Even if I wasn't going to give money, I could've shared the love of God. I could've encouraged. I could've asked questions to get to know him as a person and not just look at what I see on the outside. I could've offered him a meal if I felt compelled to do so after speaking with him. Maybe even invited him to eat with us.

Wanna know what's wrong with this world? Christians being complacent. Christians choosing to ignore uncomfortable situations. Christians choosing self-gratification over growing God's kingdom. I'm that Christian and I'm ashamed. But I'm so thankful that God is patient. He's forgiving. He's graceful. And he has given me a different perspective through this experience.

My prayer is that I get another chance to do it the right way. God's way. Don't be a complacent Christian. Seek opportunities and take them. Make the world a little bit better today and every day.


Embrace Imperfection

I'm convinced that "One day...", "When I get this in order, then...", and "If I get this situated, then I can..." never happens. I know it never has for me!

I'll think that maybe next week will be slower and I can get XYZ accomplished, but the truth is that something ALWAYS comes up. Life happens. And it's up to me to make the things a priority that are most important.

The problem with me is that I think things have to be perfect, but when I think about it I'm the prime example of IMPERFECTION. Anyone that's around me for longer than 5 minutes (probably 5 seconds 😂) can see it and I can for sure see it in myself.

Every day is messy. Sometimes I get everything on my to-do list accomplished, sometimes a few, and sometimes nothing at all. But I'm learning to give myself and others grace. I'm learning that God's perfection shines through all the imperfection. When we don't act or we procrastinate because things aren't perfect, we miss out on allowing God's perfect love and will for our lives to shine through.

Embrace your imperfections today. Poke fun at them if you need to. And let the love of Jesus perfectly shine through you.

Are you a perfectionist? Share your tips below for dealing with it! 


Joy in the Waiting

Most of last week was a pretty discouraging one. In ways, it felt like I was moving forward. But in a lot of ways, I felt stuck. I still feel stuck. There is something stirring in my heart that I am praying about and need a few people on my side. Specific people. And I haven't found them yet.

Ya, I could give up, but the discomfort I'd live with from not trying would be much greater than the discomfort to figure this out. Last week showed me how ugly and broken our world is. It also showed me just how much I need the Holy Spirit guiding me.

I came across Isaiah 40:31 on a post and found encouragement. It was a reminder that God's timing is perfect and I need to find joy in the waiting. It was a reminder that he will continually renew my strength as long as I continue pursuing him. The world will always disappoint, but God is always there to fill us back up.

Whatever cross you're bearing, hold on to that truth. Pursue God and he will renew your strength.

Feel free to share in the comments anything that's on your heart. What crosses are you bearing? How are you pushing through? What crosses have you overcome? 


Be a Pursuer

I have realized something about myself. I ask God to send people my way or to show me who could use an encouraging word or learn about Jesus. Don't get me wrong, those things are fine and dandy. The problem is with me expecting him to be my genie and "poof" those people just appear! Not only that, I expect them to be wide open and ready to hear from me.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works most of the time. It's up to me to get uncomfortable and to accept that not everyone is going to have an open heart right away. I fully believe that if you have someone on your heart that he is and will work on the other person though. It's hard. It's disheartening. It's frustrating. But that's LOVE! It's choosing to pursue others regardless of the hard and uncomfortable.

Jesus pursues me on my best days and more so on my worst days. He pursues you, too, even if you don't know it right now. When you pursue Him back, He will bear fruit in you (producing in you what you are designed to produce) that will equip you to pursue others, people that are already His that just need encouragement and the others He longs to have a relationship with.

Be a pursuer.

I love connecting with you! Share in the comments how you actively pursue others. Do you have a special gesture you make? Is there a phrase you like to use when out and about? Maybe you don't have a specific thing you like to do. Or maybe there's something that holds you back. 


An Unexpected Joy in Waiting on God

I went shopping for home decor with a friend the other night and found some curtains that I loved, but decided to hold off until talking with Michael. We do a monthly budget and had not talked about it yet. After we talked, I went back to get them and they were gone. I ordered them online, but there was quite a bit of irritation there because I wanted them NOW. 

I am starting to see that I allow my heart to surrender to instant gratification way more than I should. Why? I think a big reason is that our American culture as a whole is about instant gratification. We want the next quick fix that we think will bring us joy - Starbucks, weight loss pill, FB likes, and the list would go on for miles. 

The Bible shows us that joy and satisfaction are not always immediate. Jesus suffered and died on the cross to bring eternal joy to a hopeless and dying world. It brings him joy now when someone accepts him or when love is shown, but I'm sure suffering was not enjoyable. We too will have to take up crosses and deal with things that inconvenience us, but joy will be on the other side. I appreciate my curtains more because I had to wait on them. 

In the hard stuff, don't seek instant gratification. Think about the joy on the other side of your small crosses and inconveniences - just like Jesus saw salvation on the other side of his suffering. When we say no to instant gratification and look to Jesus, we will find the hard stuff more bearable and you'll see that there is true joy on the other side. THAT is so much better than any set of curtains I try to immediately get my hands on.

You Are A Chosen Light

In the middle of 2013, during my morning quiet time, God put a desire in my heart to start growing our family. That vision was confirmed when I shared this with my husband and he said, "Okay". There was no resistance at all. I thought that since God put the desire in my heart and my husband was on board that we'd be pregnant in a month or so. I just knew it'd be soon. Fast forward 6 months later, I pushed for tests because my body wasn't acting right and I knew more was going on than the effects of coming off of birth control. I finally was able to get a diagnosis from an endocrinologist, that specializes in infertility, that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I was told that there was a very slim chance that I'd be able to conceive without the help of medical intervention. While I am so thankful for doctors and medicine, I knew that wasn't the path that God wanted me to take. This was a trial to test and grow my faith. I drove home from that appointment in tears and feeling sorry for myself, but the next day I was angry. I was mad at me for not educating myself more.

That experience started my new journey as an online health and fitness coach to heal my own body and to coach other women battling PCOS. I did that for 3 years and I truly believe it was where I needed to be during that time. God not only used that experience to teach me how to heal my body, he taught me how to heal my mind. I discovered unpleasant things about myself that I didn't even realize were a problem until that venture. Through God's grace and lifestyle changes, I was able to conceive our precious baby boy about 2 years after he planted that desire in my heart. We now have a healthy 1-year-old. 

I felt God stirring in my heart while I was pregnant to start sharing more about him and began struggling to find joy in my MLM business. My justification was that it was just time to move on from that company and so I joined another MLM company for a few months. It took me doing that to realize that chapter of my life had come to a close, which leads me to here and now.

I have put off sharing this for several weeks because of being unclear about exactly what I need to be doing. And to be totally truthful, I'm still not clear. I have prayed A LOT and my answer is to walk in faith just like I did when I wanted my son so badly. I can tell you that I have a small glimpse of what I need to be doing and that's to share Jesus. Life is hard and there's a constant battle of following God's truth and the world's "truth". As wives and moms, it's so easy to get caught up in not feeling good enough or like we're not doing enough. We experience guilt, self-sabotage, insecurity, self-resistance to show who we really are and how we really feel, and pressure to do it all and still have energy left in the evenings for our kids and husbands. You aren't alone and that's why I have created this blog and my FB community, Chosen Light. I came up with that name because:

A. You are chosen by God. Ephesians 1:4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
B. You are meant to be a light for him. Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

From the very moment you were formed in the womb, you had purpose. Over time, that purpose can become clouded with what the world tells you and through the perspectives you gain based on your own experiences. If I can help even one person break through a wall that keeps them from shining like their meant to shine, this whole thing will be worth it.

I hope to see you in Chosen Light