Out of the Box by Bombi

So, it’s me again with another 40-something life review. Seems like there are many my age that have their 2nd degree by now, or are grandparents. Some have even started early retirement. Some have taken on a new hobby, tried their hand at publishing their writings, or finally went skydiving.  And then there’s me. 

I think for a long while I would feel bits of intimidation around other people my age. I didn’t check off the boxes in life like they did, I always seemed to do my own thing. Sometimes I would feel like conversations with my peers were kind of lopsided. This feeling wasn’t too overwhelming, but it was enough to still feel a way. Sometimes polarizing, other times it really wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was big enough for me to take notice. 

There is a song that says, “Time makes you bolder,” and I agree. In my middle age I’ve come to a place that I’m more than okay with me. It’s freeing to know I don’t have to be anyone but me. While perhaps many words could be used to describe me, one word I hope that comes to mind is “friend.”  Anyone can be a friend, right? For me being a friend is more than a thing, it’s an honorable calling. The power of friendship is so strong, one might even feel its bonds closer than family.  

Now that I’ve lived a little bit, I feel it’s safe to say that this isn’t something that comes from a seeking, needy, or even a broken place. It’s not that at all. I believe it’s God-given. Safe to say, if I were asked to choose between singing a song or being a friend, I’d say “FRIEND” every time. I truly believe that’s something God put on the inside of me.  

Maybe that doesn’t sound too spiritual or very ambitious to you. Before you brush it off I’ll remind you of something that you may forget from time to time and that is this, Jesus is a friend. Yes, the One you call your Savior and Lord is the ultimate friend. I believe that if friendship weren’t important, He wouldn’t have been one, or even mentioned friendship at all in His word.  

I want to encourage you, if you feel like you don’t check off many or really any of the so-called boxes of where you could or should be in life, just know you don’t belong in that box. You probably belong outside of it. There are passions that God has place inside of your heart that might not be like anyone you know, or even anything you’ve really seen, but they are just as important as anyone else’s. Before you brush off, ignore, judge, or even dislike the things that gnaw at your heart, take a moment and ask God to shine His light on it and show you what to do with the stuff He placed in your heart. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised and maybe even utterly fulfilled.  

“But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” 

Proverbs 18:24 (NIV) 

Let Grace and Love Abound by Sonya

“Much more will those who receive abundance of grace and gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 

Let grace abound for the forgiveness of sins and our wrongdoings. We are so fast to make a judgment or look down on someone for his or her sin. Romans 5:20, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.” Grace needs to be given in relationships and Jesus offers that grace to us each and every day. We are a performance-based society that focuses on the laws and what we can do and what we do wrong.  It is a mentality that we have to prove something to the other person but when we fall or fail we tend to not get the support and love from others. Why is it hard to forgive and choose grace when someone has wronged you? For me, when I get offended I feel unloved by that person and I tend to put a wall up in that relationship instead of confronting that person. God is really working on my heart to just go to that person directly and let grace and love abound and forgive that person. This is hard for me in my marriage because I get offended easier by the one that I love the most. Each day I can point out something my husband is doing wrong or not doing enough of. This is wrong as I may assume the worst instead of seeing the best in him.  We need to know we are all imperfect people that need a Savior.  Who are we to judge someone who needs grace and forgiveness?  We cannot reign in life through Jesus like Romans says if we get offended, impatient or angry being hung up on the sin of that person. Paul continues to say in Romans 6:14, “For sin will not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” I am so thankful for God’s grace because it frees us to not be bound by sin! When I look at my spouse I need to see him through God’s eyes, full of grace and love.​ 

 This Valentine’s Day I want to extend more love and grace to the one I love and not be hung up on what I want to change or what offends me. Let’s pray that God gives us eyes to see each person through His lenses.  There is an abundance of grace God gives us to a life overcoming of sin and forgiveness of sin. Having a heart full of grace and love will change the way we interact in our relationships.  I hope there is a sweeter love between you and the one you love this Valentine’s Day. 

If Lost, Consult The Author by Bombi

 

Sometimes I get mixed up. I’m not the best navigator, and I don’t have a great sense of direction.  Even though I’ve plotted my points to get to my destination-map app and all, I still get a little lost. I’m thinking I’m pretty tech savvy, I know how to use an app and how to look for directions. Still somehow, I can just get plain lost.

The same happens in my faith walk. Sometimes I think I’m on the right path. I think I’ve got all I need to get to the next “place.” Sometimes I think I have all the supplies I need, but then I come up short, or I had the wrong motivation, or feel like I can’t even watch and pray.  My frustrated heart cries, “I’ve been on this road since I was 5 years old, I should know my way by now.” But then I am reminded that I didn’t make this road. I didn’t invent faith. I didn’t figure it out by myself that I even needed it. I was drawn to it. I was guided to it. I didn’t authorize it. I didn’t write the Book. I’m at best a novice, but I’m in great company, because the One who invented the road is inside of me. He walked the earth and was challenged by some of the very things I’m challenged with and so much more. He walked a road before me that I couldn’t have even known, but He made the road, walked it, bloodied and beaten. He did it first. He did it for you and me. He can ask us to walk that same road, because He Himself did it before us, and mastered it. He can authorize this amazing thing we call faith because He already paid the price.

When we get lost and can’t find our way, we think we’ve come to a dead end, or maybe we turned a corner and fell in a ditch, or maybe we met some bandits at the corner of a dark road, and they have left us beaten and bloody, He’ll carry us along the way. He’ll carry you and me, because He knows we can’t go it alone. He knows we can’t complete our next step without Him. He knows that when we think this faith walk will end in a disaster-He’ll come right along and with joy, help us finish it and finish strong.

If you’re lost right now, you can’t find your way, or you somehow forgot where you were going, you don’t have to look to your neighbor, or your mom or dad, or your spouse, or a random acquaintance. You don’t need to search the wisdom of pop culture, and you don’t need to disappear. You don’t need to look to anyone or anything society tells you to. You just need to look to one person. You look to the Author of the book, and you’ll find yourself found once again.

“Looking unto Jesus, the [a] author and [b] finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Photo Credit: Free-Pik

You Are Enough by Sonya

This New Year I desire that each of us would know “You are enough.”  I struggled last year to realize that. I found myself looking in all the wrong places to find my identity through relationships with family and friends, and especially my husband. I would strive so hard to be the best wife and mom and felt like I always fell short. I relied on my husband’s words and what he thought of me to find my identity and would try so hard to get his approval, that in the end I was always hurt. I had it all wrong.  I was trying to find my self worth in others and not in who God. I am a people-pleaser at heart so it is difficult to not look to others and try to make everyone happy. Being the oldest in my family, I just took the role of taking care of my family at an early age and worked hard to make sure everyone was happy and doing well. I found my identity in my family and it was hard to break that when I got older. ​

Don’t get me wrong, family is important and there is nothing wrong in serving your family and loving them well, but if it is your main focus and where you find your self worth, then you have it wrong. I found that out and realized I need to know who I am in Christ and not in others. I am enough with just Christ and all He wants is my heart and not my works! ​

This New Year my focus is on being enough in Christ because we can never be good enough apart from Christ, and our need for a Savior is essential. He gave it all to us and we are more than enough in His eyes. We don’t have to second-guess if we are doing things right because God wants us just as we are. Our strengths, our weaknesses, He wants it all because He made us. We are enough because God made us in His image and His likeness and we are to celebrate our individual uniqueness and realize, “We are enough!” Can you take this challenge with me in this New Year and be reminded you are enough?  My dear friend gave me this necklace that said, “You are enough,” and not only will that be my reminder, but let’s remind each other together that we are enough and Christ is enough for each of us! You are worthy through the blood of Jesus and don’t ever forget that!

Photo Credit: FREEPIK-ON9KGP0.jpg