Monday, November 18, 2013

Masterpiece Treats

Yesterday afternoon, I had a phone conversation with my nephew. He told me his suitcase was packed to come to “West Birginia” for Turkey day. He then proceeded to tell me that he would like for me to have treats in my suitcase when I picked him up at the airport. He doesn’t fully understand that I won’t have a suitcase at the airport but at two years old he has fully mastered the understanding that when I come to “Hutsie’s” house-I come with a suitcase packed full of bare necessities and numerous treats for him. Even though every visit to Houston is filled with massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup and my heart explodes with overwhelming happiness when we eat ice cream from the carton, share cupcakes for breakfast, or sneak guppies (known as fruit snacks to the rest of the world) upstairs before bedtime, my favorite treats are his artistic masterpieces. I know that my sister is the mastermind and driving force behind most of my Hudson masterpieces but his scribbles and stickers are his own personal touch, his own way of making me the most blessed aunt on the planet. I have kept every piece of artwork he has ever sent me in 2 years and I love them all beyond words but during my last visit, he painted me my absolute favorite masterpiece to date. We were at the Houston Children’s museum and while he was painting my sister asked him what his picture was called. His response, “I love aunt Jay Jay.” Yes, I am proud to say that I cried in a crowded museum in front of God and everybody as soon as the words left his mouth. And I am proud to say that no one could ever love that little dude more than his Aunt Jay Jay.

Despite my increased ability to draw trains and railroad crossings (Hudson’s favorite things), my artistic abilities rank pretty low on my list of talents. If you’ve ever seen my drawings you would support my claim that I won’t be producing masterpieces anytime soon. But my (and your) very existence is a masterpiece created by God. He is the mastermind and driving force behind every part of my being. He knows my inmost thoughts, fears, and desires. He knows all of my faults, failures, and shortcomings. He knows every hardship I will face; every situation I will overcome. And he knows every painful scar of my heart. I wish I could be proud to say that if you saw the canvas that God saw, you would see a beautiful masterpiece, but you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t because I have put my own personal touches on my life. I have splattered my canvas with sin, shame, fear, anger, pride, resentment, and bitterness. I have left stickers and scribbles I wish I could permanently erase. I have allowed the stains of worldly opinions outweigh the saving grace and redeeming blood of Jesus. I have allowed my tattered version of myself be the framework of my life opposed to allowing God to make all things new. I have viewed God’s most skillful, intricate, beautiful artistic skills like black paint stains on the Mona Lisa. But despite my attempts to ruin God’s masterpiece, He still loves me beyond words. He still wipes away every “ugly” area of my life and puts His own personal touches on it. He uses what I once saw as permanent vandalism to his beautiful creation as a way to show Himself off through me. He takes every one of my poor artistic talents and refines it until I see exactly what He sees. The refining process isn’t always enjoyable or as short as I would like but necessary in order for my life to be a testimony of who He is. A testimony that despite what I see or more importantly what the world sees; I am God’s masterpiece. It’s easy to be defeated by the world’s view of who we are and it’s even easier to take yourself down the “you are a no good dirty bum” road in your own life.  Satan finds great delight in keeping us from who we are in Christ because quite frankly he’s scared to death of the power we will come to know once we realize who we are in Christ. It takes strength and a genuine relationship with the one who created you to understand that He loves you in spite of your poor artistic abilities. To understand that we may see scribbles but the one holding the paintbrush sees a masterpiece. To understand that we may have to wait until the day we meet our maker/artist to stand in awe of the finished masterpiece.  But to me the wait is worth it because I know God is proud to say in front of everyone, no one will ever love this little dudette like He does.

Saturday afternoon, I will show up at the airport with a bag (or suitcase) full of numerous treats for the most fabulous two year old in the galaxy. To him, it will be system overload as he sifts through all of his favorite high fructose corn syrup snacks. To his parents, it will be a reminder to buy my future children ten times as many treats and the beginning of their “you are going to give him diabetes” speech. To me, it will be moment number six zillion of favorites with my main squeeze. My main squeeze, Jesus, whose greatest artistic masterpiece to date was fearfully and wonderfully creating me to be my favorite everything’s Aunt Jay Jay.

Verse to remember:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

G Man

Last Christmas, I inherited a wee puppy named Gio. And although he has taken me through the peaks and valleys of the puppy world; I love him so very much. His most endearing and annoying quality is his excitement to see me (or anyone he is familiar with) upon entering his domain. It’s endearing because he consistently shows love and devotion. It is annoying because his greeting is usually accompanied by a few dribbles of excitement pee and a gift. His gifts range from a chew toy to a pair of underwear he has managed to dig out of the laundry. Nonetheless, it’s his way of saying hi and assuring me that he (if absolutely no one else in that day) is super excited to see me. Although I love G man for his one of a kind greeting, I love him most because he has absolutely zero retention of our human behaviors. His devotion, love, and excitement remain consistent even when he gets tormented (by tormented I mean chased by children or having his favorite toys placed out of his reach), denied government cheese or peanut butter, takes a heated lashing after eating expensive shoes, or gets my “angry mom” face when using the bathroom for the second time on a walk when I only brought one bag.  Regardless of the events of our day Gio is always my constant four-legged best man. He always chooses to love me and ensure that I feel that love the moment he runs to my feet with his most prized possession of the hour dangling out of his mouth, leaving a puddle of pee at my feet.

On July 23, 1999, I inherited a savior named Jesus. And although He has taken me through the peaks and valleys of this life, I love Him s very much. His most endearing and annoying quality is His excitement to see me (or absolutely anyone) when I enter into His presence. It’s endearing because He consistently shows endless love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and devotion. It’s annoying because He doesn’t always lead me in the direction I want to go or answer my prayers exactly how I want Him to. I don’t really think Jesus is annoying and my many (and I do mean many) journeys through the peaks and valleys have allowed me to see that what I call annoying; He calls obedient faith. But like Gio, Jesus always greets me with a gift when I choose obedient faith opposed to one of the million answers found within the Jay Garcia handbook of disobedience. Of course, it’s easy to choose faith when the gifts from above are evident and overflowing but how many of us choose to exercise the limits of our faith when the gift we need (or think we need) is nowhere to be found. What if your gift is negative genetic testing results of your unborn nephew when you’re helplessly a time zone away? Or what if your gift is found within the discovery that your partner of 10 years has been unfaithful? Or what if the gift is watching your sister hit rock bottom due to a drug addiction because it’s the only way God can rescue her?  Yes, friends this are all recent events of my life and despite my extreme human behaviors, Jesus and His endless love has remained constant. I have tormented His heart with my rebellion and lack of faith but not because He is a vengeful savior. But because all He ever wanted was for me to stand strong firm in my faith and let Him take care of everything. While I was consistently putting my heart in a blender and hitting pulse, doubting everything I have ever known to be true about Jesus, He was consistently praying for me. The God of the universe had/has my whole world in His hands gentling molding it so that I could experience every desire of my heart and instead of letting Him be God, I bunker down in my valley prepared to cry out my current situation. The problem with running away from God when the weight of the world comes crashing down on me is that I can’t feel His love. His love is there and the problem isn’t Him; its all me. God is always standing with his outstretched arm waiting for His most prized possession to come to His feet. He doesn’t care if I dribble pee or bring shame, doubt, fear, and rebellion with me. He will always be there forgetting about my human behaviors of the day and ensure that I feel His love. A love so strong that it has allowed me to choose obedient faith over and over again even when the gift I need or more importantly the gift God has for me is accompanied by deep pain. Pain is only temporary and a necessary part of our walk with God. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to testify to the greatness of who He is. Without it I wouldn’t be able to increase my faith in my favorite two-legged best man.

Tonight, when I finally drift off to sleep I will have a little fur ball snuggled up next to me. Despite my attempts to move him in order to have a more peaceful nights sleep, he will always reposition himself. Tonight, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of my life, when I am desperate to feel God’s love and am tested in the limits of my faith, I will have the King of Kings snuggled up next to me. And despite my attempts to move Him because I desperately want to run, He will reposition himself. He will reposition himself until I have total peace in Him-until I am at His feet wagging my tail dragging all of the gifts He has given me.

Verse to remember:
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

1 Peter 5:6-7 So humble yourself under the mighty power of God and in His good time, He will honor you. Give all of your worries/cares to God for He cares about what happens to you.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'll Take Jesus for Eternity, Alex

One of my deepest confessions is, I love more people under twelve than over twelve. Part of my love for children lies within the fact that I am a twenty-eight (almost twenty nine) year old child at heart and the other part of my love lies within my deep appreciation and admiration for the innocent care free hearts and minds of children. I have MANY children who hold the key to my heart and remind me daily of how blessed I am to be their “adult” best friend and role model. I am also blessed by parents who welcome endless cupcake baking, “Jay” haircuts, pudding eating in bathtubs, and my own personal quotes and quotables. (Bizzle, Wackado, and craptastic have become common phrases among my tots) Last August, my life was forever changed and my blessings quadrupled when a fantabulous six-year-old diva officially adopted me as a sister.  Since that time we have established quite a list of sister musts including: nightly sister teeth brushing rituals (complete with Justin Beiber music and our best eight count dance moves), sister secret handshakes, serious sister talks, and most importantly sister date nights. Tonight, I was fortunate enough to have a sister date. Our date consisted of Michael Jackson Dance on the Wii, ice cream sundaes, homemade matching T-shirts, car dancing/singing (with sunglasses on), an intense game of this or that, and a Greek yogurt eating contest. This or that was an invention from the mind of the wisest six-year-old God ever created. (The ice cream was an invention from the best junk food eating twenty-eight year old God ever created) This or that is a simple but very entertaining game. One person picks two items and the other person picks the option they like the best. Some of my personal favorites from this evening were: shampoo or conditioner, mustache or beard, drinking or slurping, and gas pedal or brake pedal. Clearly, my resume proves that I am a low maintenance no conditioner, turned off by facial hair, slurping, speed racer kind of gal so my answers were usually predictable. But it wasn’t the suspense that made this new game entertaining, it was turning ordinary everyday occurrences into memories with greater meaning simply because I was able to share laughter with my sister as we gave our responses.

Laughter is one of the many benefits of having such a fab sister but her greatness begins in her heart. (I would be doing her an injustice if I didn’t add that she also picks out my clothes and gives me advice on exercise, marriage, and music) Her heart reflects all that truly matters in this life. Yes, I am completely biased but I can support my claims by her answers to our new game tonight. She chose forgiveness over forgetting. Half full over half empty. Giving over receiving. Family over friends. And sisters over boyfriends. (Now you know why I am biased) I would have picked the exact same answers simply because everyday I choose Jesus. And because I choose Him, I strive to live like him daily. But my choices aren’t as pure and genuine as those of a child. My choices come after years of heartache, numerous failures and regrets, and unfortunately many unwise choices. My choices are a daily struggle of flesh verses spirit. It’s much easier to choose my will over God’s will. It’s much more bearable to choose to live within my emotions opposed to live beyond them. And it’s much more convenient to say, “Yo God, I got this so just trust me” opposed to believing Him when He says, “Yo Jay, I got this so just trust me.” As much as I love God and as convinced as I am that He is always the best choice, I still have moments where I struggle with choosing Him. It’s definitely not something I am proud of but it’s something that all Christians can relate to at some point in their walk with the Lord. When I am faced with those moments and know I have a choice to make, I simply get on my knees. I turn to my Father with my childlike heart and say, “I have no idea how I am going to get through this moment but I do know that I need you to be here now.” I pray that prayer daily. I am not ashamed of my dependency on Christ because my dependency is a direct result of continually choosing Him. I am also not ashamed to say that I have chosen everything but Jesus at times. And it was during those times that I found myself more broken, battered, and lost than I could have ever imagined. It was during those times I felt completely alone. I no longer have to doubt God, His will, or His promises to me. I no longer have to doubt that He is the only choice for me. I no longer have to make any choice in this world alone. Jesus is and always will be the best choice friends. He doesn’t promise us a life without pain but He does promise us a prosperous life-A life that will lead us to eternal glory with Him as long as we choose Him each and every day. So I ask you this; Jesus or Fill in the blank? I say fill in the blank because only you know what you put above Jesus in your own lives-Only you know the depths of your personal relationship with Christ. You have a choice to make and I can assure you that if you chose Jesus, He will meet you where you are and make all things new. He will allow your heart to reflect all that truly matters in life.

I tell my sister daily, that I want to be just like her when I grow up. She always laughs and reminds me that she knows because I just told her yesterday. The truth is, I do want to be just like her. Not because she is much more bizzle than I could ever dream to be but because she chooses Jesus without hesitation and without even realizing it. That’s the legacy I want to leave behind- that’s the legacy my under twelve best friend following deserves.

Verse to remember:
John 20:27-29
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Choosey Moms Choose Jesus

My coffee obsession in known by all who are privileged to be a part of my inner circle of peeps (Bit of truth, I am thankful to be surrounded by such a great circle of peeps) but my peanut butter obsession is only known to a select few. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be around me during one of my many emotional binge-eating quests, then you’ve witnessed my ever so perfect Jiff jar spoon licking skills. I don’t just indulge in the bliss of peanut butter when I am on an emotional roller coaster…I indulge it in every chance I get. To me, everything is better with a dollop of gooey delicious fat filled peanut butter. My personal favorite PB concoctions include: peanut butter and blueberry sandwiches, chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels, peanut butter Thai sauce, peanut butter waffles with walnuts and cinnamon, and melted peanut butter on top of vanilla bean ice cream. (If y’all thought I turned healthy on you during my hiatus, you can put that thought to rest now.) Another bit of truth, I love all the above mentioned foods without the addition of PB but the absence of my favorite goo decrease the overall ka-pow taste bud factor.

I proudly wear my love for food on my sleeve and when my favorite older sister is in town, I proudly wear my love for food on the waistline of my yoga pants. To me a bad day can be instantly transformed with a cup of dark roast full flavor coffee and any food option containing at least 500 calories and peanut butter. Great taste in coffee/food and an even greater circle of peeps makes every day of my life (the good, bad, ugly, and painful) extremely better. But my true comfort in this life is Jesus. He is the goo that holds me together when my world is falling apart. He is the goo that makes absolutely everything better. So much so that I would give up my coffee/peanut butter addiction this moment (well after I finish my venti iced coffee) because I am convinced He is all I need. But He doesn’t work that way-He doesn’t require us to sacrifice our temporary comforts in order to receive His permanent comfort. He does however take away from our lives in order for us to receive the fullness of the abundant life He has for us. He doesn’t lead us to a valley to punish us or destroy us, or in my case force me to increase my coffee intake. He leads us into the valleys of life in order to grow in Him. To make our faith greater than our fears. To allow us to truly experience the comfort of Jesus Christ for perhaps the very first time. From experience, this process can be brutally painful and extremely difficult, especially when we try to rely on our own strength. Every morning, my mind and my strength (and my sleepiness) are renewed when my first sip of coffee hits my lips but nothing renews me like an overflowing cup of Jesus. He is my ultimate Ka-Pow factor friends. He is the keeper of my heart and my very best friend. Because I have been a resident of many valleys and a dweller in many pits, I have a long list of my favorite Jesus concoctions. My concoctions don’t include any fattening ingredients; they include a long list of scriptures. Scriptures that I recite daily-scriptures that I turn to when I need to satisfy my emotional binge eating soul. I recently had a moment in my life where I told Jesus, “Not only are you all I need, You are all I have.” And when massive amounts of caffeine, twizzlers, and peanut butter did nothing for my broken heart, Jesus whispered in my ear and said, “Give me your heart and I’ll put in back together for you.” In the darkest valley of my life, I looked beyond my temporary comforts and chose Jesus. Are you in a valley today? Have you licked every spoon in your kitchen clean after days of emotional eating? (No judgment, I have eaten ice cream 4 days in a row) Are you wondering why all of your temporary comforts leave you empty inside? If you are, choose Jesus. He is the overflowing gooey deliciousness we all need to make everything better. He is the secret ingredient to our peace and our comfort. His word (the B-I-B-L-E) is the only way we can ensure that we always satisfy our spiritual taste buds.

I know many of you won’t be eating peanut butter and blueberry sandwiches for lunch tomorrow but I pray that you will feast on Jesus. He can do more for you in a blink of an eye than you ever thought possible.  He can do more for you than massive amounts of vanilla bean ice cream smothered with warm peanut butter.

Verse to remember:
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

He Gives and We Take Away

I am definitely not fan of this cold, rainy, gloomy, make you want to stay curled up in a blanket all day, weather we’ve been having. I don’t despise winter but I truly only appreciate winter during the first snow fall of the season and on Christmas morning. (My dad always told me I would stop liking winter as soon as snow days were only a figment of my imagination…don’t tell him but he was right) I do however love fall. Mostly, I love pumpkin spice lattes, Saturday’s full of football, crunching pinecones under my feet (I’ve been told it’s not a normal thing to do but the term normal has never really fit me anyway), outdoor festivals, and evenings spent in sweatpants.  And not just any sweatpants. I am very low maintenance in most areas of my life but I do have a few areas of my life where I refuse to cut corners and sweatpants selection is one of those areas. (In some states, I could be considered a sweatpants snob.) It’s not about brand or even look (I still have my all time favs complete with holes and a missing elastic waistband); it’s about warmth and comfort. Fortunately for  me,  my all American best friend, who happens to own a plethora of North Carolina apparel, gave me the most winter weather appropriate pair of sweatpants (I’m still waiting patiently on a pair of autographed shoes) I’ve ever owned. It was love at fight donning and I have worn them every day since receiving them. If I could implement sweatpants into my work dress code; I would take every 7:30 AM patient for the rest of the year.
I am very blessed that my best friend inherited many perks from being a collegiate athlete and I am even more blessed that she gives from the depths of her heart. (I once watched her give the jacket off of her back to a waitress simply because our server fell in love with it) Because she loves and gives like her heavenly father (and because she will read this blog and realize I would be heartbroken); she would never take away my beloved sweatpants.  In fact, some would consider her a terrible friend if she asked for her gift to be returned to her. But do we consider ourselves bad children of God when we take back something He has already removed from our lives? I would certainly make national news as the crazy girl from WV if I went to God and said, “Lord, please give me back my stomach disease, my daily need to drink Jack Daniels, and my depression/grief over losing my pap.”  I would never want any of those healings removed or undone and once I was delivered from those areas of my life; I never considered being bound by them again. But I have crept my way successfully back into the schemes of the enemy and taken back areas of my life that God had previously delivered me from. I’m not referring to addictions or outward sin; I’m talking about my deepest fears, pains, and insecurities. I am completely guilty of picking back up the pain from a broken heart. I am a repeat offender for the crime of allowing the intense pain of my past to bind me from my future in Christ. And I have stolen my fear back from Christ more times than I can count. When God removes our hurts, fears, and pain; He removes them for two reasons. First, He removes them so He can begin the healing process within us. Second, He removes them so Satan’s previous hold on/in our lives is permanently removed. When we take back the most painful areas of our life from Him; we disrupt our healing that comes from Him alone and we give Satan permission to attack us with areas of our life that are crippling to an abundant life in Jesus. When we surrender any area of our lives over to the healer of ALL of our hurts we must leave it at His feet or we will end up heartbroken. We end up heartbroken because Jesus is our very best friend and He would never take back the peace, joy, or satisfaction we find in Him. In fact, if we let Him; He will give us more of His blessings and love us with an unspeakable love.  Are you guilty of taking back pain and fear that you have already surrendered to God? Or maybe you have only experienced a portion of your healing because you have asked God to give you back your pain and suffering.  Satan wants us to view Jesus like I view winter. He wants us to appreciate Him during the first glimpse of His glory and on Christmas morning. But God wants so much more friends. He wants us to become a Jesus snob. He wants us to set standards in Him and refuse to cut corners no matter how tempting it is to take back whatever it is we have already given to Him.
It will only take me a short while (probably the end of next winter) to transform my new sweatpants into a tattered and worn version that resembles a few other pairs I have stashed away in my dresser drawers but each time I put them on: I will remember the love and generosity of my All American best friend. It may take me a short while to transform a worn and tattered version of myself that resembles a defeated, repeat offender into a redeemed and restored child of God. But each time I lay something at His feet, I will remember the healing, resurrection power, and the permanent freedom of my All in All best friend.  

Verse to remember:  Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD  and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

National Jesus Day

Today is national coffee day and although I was very disappointed in Starbucks for not giving away free coffee: I still paid tribute to my favorite indulgence of all time on its national day of recognition.  We all know that I pay tribute to coffee everyday but my coffee did taste a wee bit better this morning (and this afternoon). I only wish national coffee day didn’t fall on my day off so I could have made my rounds for free coffee. Because my love for coffee is world known, I received many text messages today from friends making sure I took advantage of free coffee all day long. (I also received a very funny voicemail from a friend saying national coffee day should be renamed after me)  I appreciated all of the coffee love I received today but my favorite text of the day came from an exercise physiologist I work with. Her text read: “To everyone else it’s national coffee day but since I never see you without coffee, it’s just Thursday.”  I laughed because she was exactly right. I laughed because in 6 weeks she picked up on the fact that I have a coffee problem. I laughed because I couldn’t think of a single time I had been in the gym with her and wasn’t holding a hot cup of coffee between my fingers.  And I laughed because as I read her 10:00 AM text: I was enjoying coffee.  When I responded to her text, I said: “ Starbucks gets an F for not giving away free coffee and my heart gets to save a few years of life because I won’t be driving to Morgantown for free coffee on my day off.”
If I had to be known for any food item I couldn’t think of a better option than coffee (ice cream is definitely 2nd).  And if I had to survive on only one nutritious substance for the rest of my life, coffee would definitely be my top choice. I choose to fill my days with coffee and I choose to be very open with my coffee addiction because I have a strong love for it. In fact, I can’t think of a single time where sharing my love for coffee ended in a negative result.  Ya’ll may not be known for your love of coffee but do others know you for your love of Jesus? When you receive text messages or phone calls do your friends allude to the fact that Jesus reminds them of you and your love for Him? I am a sinner saved by grace just like every other child of God who has chosen Him as their savior. And because He lives in me, I choose to be known by my love for Him. I choose to fill my life with Jesus all day long. I choose to allow His light shine from me wherever I go. When I meet someone, I’m not concerned with whether or not they notice my coffee addiction but I am concerned with whether or not they see my Jesus addiction.  I want others to pick up on the fact that I have a Jesus problem.  My Jesus problem is simple friends. I have a problem when I don’t live for Him alone. I have a problem when I conveniently remove Jesus from situations or daily encounters simply because I am afraid of how my Jesus addiction will be perceived. The truth is when we don’t share Jesus with others we get an F.  The love of Jesus is completely free and when we share Him with others; we save years of their life that they may not have been spent in eternity.  There isn’t a national share Jesus day because as disciples of Jesus we are called to share Him every day. We should have the boldness in Him to declare every day National Jesus day. We should love Him to an extent that we celebrate Him every second of every day. Do you have a Jesus problem? Or are you scared that your addiction to Jesus may end in a negative result? I will be the first to admit that sharing Jesus isn’t always easy and it most definitely isn’t always appreciated. But there is never a negative result when you share the truth of our beautiful savior. There isn’t a person on this Earth that wasn’t created to accept the love of Jesus.  If Jesus sent text messages, He would send out mass text messages encouraging all of us to take advantage of His free love. He would send me a text message that said, “To everyone else it’s Thursday but since I never see you without Me in your heart; it’s national share Jesus day.”  I’m not laughing but I am smiling because He is right. I am smiling because I want people to pick up on the fact that I have a coffee addiction. I am smiling because as I type this: I’m  enjoying Jesus.

Verse to remember:  Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Attutude Adjustment

Two week ago I started exercising for two reasons: my thighs started overtaking my pants and my patients motivated me.  Not only have I added exercise to my new big girl schedule; I have added responsibility to my job title. Before I give myself too much credit, I must admit that I haven’t transitioned too easily. I complained for days when I had a 7:00 AM patient and I still have to give myself a pep talk before my feet hit the treadmill (I started out exercising 6 days a week and now I’m down to 3 days).  During my “I need to become an adult at 27 years old” revelation; I realized that I didn’t necessarily need to change who I was; I need to revamp who I was.  I needed to understand that my days of sleeping in until 9:00 were over. I needed to accept that if I wanted to feel the comfort of my favorite Buckle jeans again; I had to exercise. I needed to shine my helmet (In addition to my helmet of salvation, I wear a helmet of protection because life is hard) and welcome the joys of being the low man on the totem pole in the career world. I needed to say goodbye to procrastination and finally accept responsibility. I spent days revamping myself (I will spend the rest of my life appreciating a 5:00 alarm) and even though I began feeling more like an adult; I didn’t necessarily like being an adult. I didn’t like being an adult because I had managed to change everything accept my attitude. In my mind, I was still annoyed when my 7:30 AM meetings were cancelled after I was already in the conference room. I still got angry when schedule changes caused my days to be longer. And I still outright despised the 30 minutes I sat aside each day to walk on the treadmill. Outwardly, I looked like a transformed adult (well as transformed as I will ever be) but inwardly I was still the same person. My battle wasn’t with making necessary changes in my life; my battle was within my mind. I never (and I do mean never) thought I would admit that waking up at 5:00 AM and walking on a treadmill daily would be easier than adjusting my attitude.
My attitude has been tainted not because of my transition toward adulthood but because of my transition toward myself. At some point far greater than two weeks ago; I lost my Mojo. I lost the overwhelming desire inside of myself to live for Jesus opposed to living for myself. All of my self-seeking desires resurfaced and I lost sense of who I was. Outwardly, I was still daily transforming into more of Him but inwardly I was battling with the enemy. Each day I put all of my energy into revamping the easy areas of obedience and faith but cut corners in the area that needed the most attention: my attitude in Christ. Instead of allowing God to cover me in His grace and revamp me with His healing arms; I spent days feeling like a Christian but never actually enjoyed being a Christian. Enjoying  every second of God and  enjoying every second of living for Him wasn’t my problem; experiencing joy in my storm was my problem. As soon as I took my eyes off of Him and placed them on this world; I failed friends. I failed and no amount of revamping was going to bring me back to victory. My only chance of a true adjustment was getting in the presence of God. And I did just that. Sunday night I started changing my attitude for two reasons: my hurt started overtaking His purpose and my King motivated me.  Now in my mind, my pain, my frustrations, my loss, my defeats, and my anger vanish and all I am left with is pure joy. Pure joy that only comes from Him: pure joy that starts inwardly and transforms itself outwardly. Do you need a transformation of Jesus today? Have you been outwardly changing but inwardly dying? Has the enemy robbed you of the joy of your salvation? Don’t ignore the area of your life that needs Jesus the most. Don’t spend days battling the enemy when God has already won the ultimate battle.  There is joy in Jesus friends. When you find it and experience it; you crave it. You spend your days basking in it. You spend your life desiring to share it. The joy I have in Him has transformed me into a 27 year old whose only desire is to live and love like Jesus…a 27 year old who can only wake up at 5:00 AM because I know at some point in my day; Jesus will use to me share His joy.

Verse to remember:  Philippians 2: 1-5  1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

He's My Top Quality Excuse

This morning I saw the first signs of fall in the form of condensation on my car windshield. Of course, I knew fall was approaching because I have been in football mode for the past ten days. (Is it unnecessarily cruel to tell y’all that I have a WVU sideline pass for opening day?)  I looked down at my flip flop wearing feet and embraced the comfort of my favorite J Crew zip up jacket as I soaked up the last little bit of summer. Once in my car, I turned on my windshield wipers (and turned up my radio) to remove the perfect sheet of condensation that has formed overnight. As I started driving, the condensation came back. And twenty seconds later it was back again. It wasn’t until I had tried every different windshield wiper speed and every different thermostat setting that I realized the source of the condensation. The water was forming as a result of the top quality windshield washer fluid I had sprayed moments earlier. I’m a slowly transitioning adult (three weeks later I still feel cheated when my alarm goes off at 6:30) who has an extensive student loan repayment so I only choose top quality when it comes to toilet paper, ice cream, and hair flat irons.  Because I have an uncle who spoils his favorite 27 year old niece; I have six dollar windshield washer fluid in my car. I love his heart and generosity (he definitely inherited all of my pap’s greatest qualities) but I didn’t love the tiny water bubbles all over my windshield at nine o’clock this morning. The high quality insect repellant that was added to the washer fluid combined with the cool morning temperatures made my windshield resemble a piece of plastic wrap covered in Crisco. Luckily, I was able to adjust my dashboard temperature and fix the problem before I got on the interstate because it would have been quite difficult driving with a Crisco covered windshield at 75 miles per hour.
If I truly had Crisco on my windshield; I would have marched my little behind right back inside and been the first person ever to use the “I have lard on my windshield excuse” to her boss.  (Have I mentioned that I really miss my days of sleeping in and enjoying coffee until noon in my Pajamas?) And if my vision was truly dangerously impaired; I would have pulled over and waited for my windshield to be crystal clear. (Since I am now an adult I am trying to make better decisions) I didn’t even consider delaying my morning commute because I knew I would be able to adapt to my condensation dilemma.  But when Satan throws obstacles at us with the sole purpose of dangerously impairing our relationship with God; His motive is always to delay us.  The enemy preys on us and relentlessly throws obstacles and trials into our lives at the exact moment God is waiting to reward us for obediently following Him. Satan doesn’t attack us when we aren’t a threat to God’s kingdom but he most definitely attacks us when God is preparing to use us in mighty ways. He attacks us so we regress in our faith. He attacks us so we march our little behinds back inside and use the “Lord, this is much too difficult to bear excuse” to God . He attacks us because he can use even the tiniest delay in our obedience to cause great havoc in our lives. The enemy is sly friends. He doesn’t come at us with frugal attempts. He brings the high quality juice every time. He pours his top dollar deceitful ways into our hearts and minds and every time we squeeze some of it out; He blinds us. He causes us to see God through Crisco covered eyes which ultimately delays in work in and through us. The only way we can adjust to the enemy’s high quality attacks is to take a permanent stand against him. But we can’t stand alone friends. We must grab a hold of God and refuse to let go even when everything in our lives is anything but crystal clear. We must fervently serve Him and faithfully trust Him every day. God doesn’t have a favorite 27 year old child that He likes to spoil but He does give me top quality every time I call upon Him. His top quality always trumps Satan top quality friends.  Are you allowing Satan to delay what God desperately wants to bestow upon you? Or maybe you are adapting to the lies and deceitful ways of Satan during your current dilemma. If you adapt to his schemes; you will never experience the fullness of the abundant life God has for you.  If you accept his schemes; you will never fulfill the fullness of the obedience we are called to have as followers of Jesus Christ.  God is waiting to share His heart and His generosity. Let Him friends because the little water bubbles that will fill your life are drops of blessings falling from heaven.
Verse to remember:  Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.
Hebrews 10: 36-38 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, But my righteous one will live by faith.  And I take no pleasure  in the one who shrinks back.”