What do you think of when I say the word church? Joy? Good people? Pain? Hypocrisy? Unspoken?
So many thoughts…none of them wrong, but I think of home. My go to place each Wednesday and Sunday. My first boyfriend and best friend. Youth group hang outs and camps. People that prayed.
Sure it is full of broken people and sinners, but that is why I fit in so well. My brokenness is welcome here and yours should be too. My youth church closed its doors this past Sunday. Church is not a place, but still sad I cannot go back to visit the building where I was baptized. Happy to have my family with me this Easter. Hope my son has all I had in a church home and more. If you feel a certain way about church, I encourage you to try again. It is worth it.
One of my favorite things to do is work in the preschool at church. I get to love on babies, play with toddlers, tell little ones about Jesus and SHOW them God’s love on display. Tell each kid that Jesus knows his or her by name.
I get to give parents an hour to worship undistracted by little ones. My time with their children help ls them to feed their souls. Is it loud and crazy…oh yes. But is it important?
Nothing else matters.
The kingdom belongs to these littles. We must be careful to train up the next generation so the church carries on until He returns.
Be the church wherever you fit in using whatever gift He bestowed upon you.
To me January 1st is just another day. Whatever vision you had on December 31st could be done then…why wait? Why be dramatic about January 1st…it seems like it is setting one up to get on this hig emotional high then fail. However, I do love graduations to reflect and endings call for new beginnings.
Four areas I want to examine:
Health-mind and physical. I am hopeful to get answers to my weight loss, gain some weight, and not let inflammation bring me down.
Reading-both to grow and for pleasure
I see these four areas as important to me and areas where I can grow. Work is important too and I have goals there…but at my stage of life…so much time is spent on making a name for myself as a teacher that it is exhausting. Sometimes I just need to live my life and bring that to the curriculum I know.
My school family!
So today, give yourself grace. Notice the baby steps to be better, but do not suffocate yourself with strict guidelines. Enjoy the journey!
Happy 2022. The year I blog until I get busy again!
I stepped out of my comfort zone this summer and joined a Bible Study for women. Not only that, but I led a table group. I struggle being in a room with women that love Jesus because I feel like I fail in being a godly woman. I do not see myself worthy of being a pastor’s wife.
I listen to 90’s rap and like it. On bad days, I catch myself talking gangsta like in the lyrics.
I am good at doing the stanky leg.
I complain and am idle.
I do not like people in my home and buy goodies rather than bake them.
I do not craft…in fact I hate it.
I just do not feel like I represent a woman of the church. But I love Jesus and so do the women I got to “lead” this summer. I wanted to be at the table with my friends or the table with the people my age, but God had a better plan. I was at the table with a mix of ages and he sat me down so that I could be mentored and taught. I gained new friends and grew in my relationship with Christ.
This is Bible Study.
This is the church.
If you have not studied with Ruth Chou, then I encourage you to study Truthfilled. It takes you on a journey through Colossians to learn your identity in Christ. To rehearse His truths. So powerful in this age where we easily get our confidence from likes, views and followers. Truth is what we say to ourselves is everything…so speak truth!
I fail at this daily. The author of the Bible Recap says “You are a person that reads her Bible, wants to read her Bible or wants to want to read her Bible.” I fall in the middle.
I am on Day 102 of a Bible reading plan, but should be on Day 175 I think. I started strong then stalled. I thought summer days would catch me up and I failed at that, too. My problem is distractedness. I sit down then lose focus. I am a failure.
Now, I celebrate that I have read 102 more days of the Bible than I read last year, but I can do better. I want to do better. I feel better and can handle life better when God’s truth is poured into me. I strive to be more like God.
But believing God is where the joy is at is much different than living it, so I continue to pray and do more. Truthfully, every time God has called me to study His word…he ends up preparing me for a battle where His word has sustained me. I will see if this time is different, but I know I am armed with the truth and that is enough.
2020 was the year our trauma was exposed. The year we had a moment to step back and see what God was seeing. Busyness. Greed. Selfishness. Chasing after the wind to gain power, success, money…but losing family, health and righteousness.
2021 can be the year to repair what the trauma exposed. Relationships with family, clarity in our mission, a new way of doing things. A greater focus on what matters and what you really “need” to thrive. God’s way is simple, but costs us everything. God’s way brings life.
2021 is the year of new habits. New mindsets that 2020 revealed are needed. Mindsets of humility, grace, health, knowledge of God’s word, seeing trials as a process for change.
This year starts some new healthy habits that will be game changers.
1. Reading the entire Bible. God gives us direct access to Him and I am taking advantage of it.
2. Changing what I put into my body. More water specifically.
3. Discipline through CG workouts. Build muscle, grow lung strength, push yourself mentally and encourage others around you. Take an hour for yourself to take care of your body and grow your mental toughness.
4. Choosing family and quality relationships while putting down the things that keep us from it. My FB friends do not fulfill me more than family.
5. Financial freedom. Stop using things to buy happiness. Get out of debt .
I struggle being generous because I fear not paying bills, but the truth is I am spending all my money on things for myself to make me happier. Time to stop.
This year is the year to make changes needed now that God has my attention.
First, let me say Covid is a disaster. Anything that causes people to die alone, businesses to crash, jobs be destroyed and kids depressed is awful. This pandemic is not to be taken lightly, but there are a few plus sides if you look for them.
1. To go alcohol. I do not mean drinking and driving…I mean ordering your favorite cocktail to go.
2. Reservations. How nice to know how many people to expect, less crowded places and knowing you are going to get in.
3. Online shopping. Now more than ever some of the best deals are online and delivery services are on fire.
4. Virtual everything. Virtual school. Virtual conferences. Virtual workouts. Virtual get togethers. Even virtual church. Virtual can be a good thing when you cannot afford to miss, but cannot get up to go.
If you need a place to worship our Savior, need some peace and hope or want to get back to your roots or start a new thing…let me invite you to http://www.clifec.com
Times are listed above or it will be on demand. Nothing to lose and it may be the start of something beautiful.
My campus was on Spring Break last week, so online learning started for us this week. Last week, I struggled to wrap my brain around what it looks like and this week I have been busy executing the plan. Crandall ISD has stepped up to give us a united vision of consistency and leadership. Today the first day of school at home begins!
It started with lots of online conference meetings which sound way more fun than they are. A great way to bridge the distance another tech tool that I can now use for the future.
Later came two days of connecting to the families, creating assignments for the Google Classrooms, creating videos to teach parents and forgetful students how to access those classrooms and lots of extra things to put the plan in place. I have a 7 year old that has really had to fill his time (un) wisely while I work 9+ hour days sorting it all out. Again, thankful the vision was already in place so I could execute my part.
Just when I thought I had had enough the Flipgrids started rolling in with their sweet faces and voices and then my first video call to try out the class. Breathe. This is worth it. The kids need the interactions as much as I do and it reminds me why I teach. Their faces remind me why I went back to the classroom after leaving it for leadership and more money. Their smiles are my why and their need for something normal is my motivation. For them the work is worth it.
God is doing something big in all this that I know will be missed when it is all over. Families are reconnecting, educators are innovating, kids are really learning for life not a test, and we are appreciating the roles we all serve and sometimes take for granted. God is moving in this stop and slow down moment in history. I believe in his promises!
We are living in a crazy time! Businesses open during the Great Depression are closing, schools canceled indefinitely, churches are even closed! Institutions that seemed unbreakable are broken…crazy times!
Look on Facebook and you get a range of emotions from fear to doubt to frustration. Truth is we all process trauma in different ways and no place is that more evident than on social media.
The battle for me begins and ends in my mind. Do I choose joy or jealousy? Do I judge or like a post I do not agree with because I know their heart? Easy to not want to read it, but then it is the one way to stay somewhat connected. Constant choices for your time. How best to spend it when getting out of the house is limited?
As Christians, we have a calling in times like these while the world watches. Where is my source of strength? Where is the root of my joy? Do I trust my heavenly Father like I say I do?
The best we can do as Christ Followers is to be the Church. Share love, time and our resources. Check on our neighbors. The world will know us by our love. Not easy when you just want to be left alone, but this is our time to prove our faith are more than words.
The greatest lesson I am learning is that we can fill our calendars with all of our stuff, but God is in control. God is the ultimate decision maker. This surprised us, but not him. My father always said after every plan “Lord willing”. It drove me crazy, but as I cancel event after event it makes sense. God is in control.
In my devotional today, the author talked about retreating to her “Faith Cocoon” in times like these. Meditate on scripture. Sing worship songs. Dive into devotionals. Draw near to God. This does not mean you push others out of your life, but that feed yourself in faith so that you can share that with others. If you are not full then you cannot pour into others. I believe lives will be saved and churches will be full the first Sunday they are reopen. God will redeem this if we hold on and wait patiently.