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.
On this Good Friday where we celebrate the life Jesus Christ gave willingly for our sins to be redeemed, I am reminded the importance of His love. His love I do not deserve. His love that sets me free. His love that allows me to love others.
A sweet neighbor just dropped off a basket for my son. A basket that will make him smile and feel special. A basket from a “big kid” that he looks up to. I need to do better at being a good neighbor and loving others the way Christ loves me.
It may seem simple, but this is why Jesus Christ came to this Earth as a man. To teach us to love so we can love others and influence the world. We are Chosen. It is in us; our call is to share 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.
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.
My plans are worthless. I learned that in Covid, then things got back to “normal-ish” and I forgot and now I am reminded in this Winter storm again. My plans are worthless.
My calendar is a wish list and a “I hope to do…”. My dad would always say to EVERY thing “If it is the Lord’s will..” It drove me crazy, but it is more right than wrong. My calendar was slashed again with this Texas ice storm and I am not complaining. I have been blessed with the essentials and luxuries that I appreciate now more than ever. Do not take it for granted, Julia…heat, electricity, water…they are gifts!
As we, Lord willing, start wrapping this Winter Storm up I am reminded we are made to follow Him. We were created to worship.
Created to obey.
Created to trust.
Created to sin.
Created to need a Savior and one willing to sacrifice.
Created to thank Him and tell others about this gift.
As we restart our adoption journey, but this time through foster care, one major difference is all the courses available online. We lose the community…we loved our adoption community and still keep in touch with those families…but learning in your pajamas is pretty awesome too. In fact, doing the courses online is one of the big reasons the fire was lit to start. I learned today even CPR was online so that is pretty amazing also! I say all this to say if you have been praying about adoption then now is the time!
On another note, Happy Law Enforcement Day!
The biggest reason my husband got out of police work, is we adopted our son. Now we had a baby to care for and working nights, weekends, holidays just would not work anymore. He struggled that he was missing all the good stuff needing to sleep so he could go to work. He also realized the reality that he could be hurt or killed while on the job and there were other things he could do…so he resigned and started a new career.
Staying married while doing that job was hard, so I will always have respect for those that serve others and risk their lives for strangers.
I have some friends going through the adoption process and I hate to say it, but when they ask how it is my first words are “really hard”. It takes a lot of time, paperwork, classes, background checks, videos, meetings and so many questions!! I think what makes it harder is you know you are doing a good thing so why so many obstacles? Also compared to giving birth, you have to prove yourself as a parent. Even 8 years later, the thing I remember most is how hard it ended up being.
The thing is you have no control. The timing, the person, the process…it is out of your hands. A lot of praying and trusting that others are looking out for you. But in the end…it is so worth it! When you meet your child and it all makes sense…adoption is the best gift from God!
One of our best blessings is our adoption is open! I posted this pic today and the first person to like it was his birth mom. Love we can keep up in this way and she can share in these moments with me. If God has put on your heart to adopt…go for it! No one I have met has ever regretted it!
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.
I am putting it out to the universe a few goals I have for 2021 in hopes to hold myself accountable:
Goal 1: continue with Camp Gladiator to gain strength and good health. Of all the things in 2020 that make me proud, starting an exercise routine and sticking with it is at the top of my list. I pay more than I prefer, but I go and that is huge! I see results in my arms, abs and ass…also a positive. I feel more confident and my clothes fit. So the money is worth the confidence! I have paid gym memberships for years and never go so this works for me!
Goal 2: community. 2020 taught me to be vulnerable and be brave with people. I already joined a water group, Bible reading group and Camp Gladiator and hope to continue to step out with people. I have thought a lot about what people would say at my funeral and I hope they say “she was love”. My quote last year was “How do people feel about themselves in your presence?” I hope it is something positive!
Goal 3: get a foster care placement. This involves finishing the paperwork and application process so lots to do to reach this goal.
Goal 4: most important read the whole Bible this year. Growing closer to God and bearing more fruit that shows the light of Christ is always top priority but often my calendar and time does not show it, so accomplishing this will be huge for me.
Goal 5: continue to grow myself as a writer through this blog! Writing is my thing that I know God has gifted me to do and I pray to use this gift for His glory.