Isolating is like…

Leadership of any kind bring heaps of joys
and loads of difficulties. Being a leader
in ministry is no different. Lots of leaders
find themselves in a lonely place, caused by
a variety of reasons, but alone in a crowd
none the less.

When a lady finds herself in that situation,
the temptation can be to further isolate her
heart from others. Not good.

“Isolating yourself and your feelings is like
applying the car brakes on the ice;
it stops you from forward progress and sends
you spinning in all the wrong direction.”

(from my journal a few weeks back)

Isolating ourselves is a slow form of Quitting!

Galations 6:2
“Share each other’s burdens,
and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

She Did What She Could

I’m enjoying several reading plans this month and some wonderful “extras!”
Together, our church is reading YouVersion’s 21 Day Fast , and I’m also lovin’ some wonderful videos & blogs from Mount Hope Church (who recently adopted Courage Church!!!! YIPPEE!)

One thing I read today did a little zing in my heart. Here’s the tiny verse
and then my thoughts are following.

“SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD…” – Jesus
Mark 14:8a

————————————————————————————

(The “SHE” in this verse is the lady who broke her expensive perfume and anointed
Jesus before his crucifixion and burial. She took criticism from people…
but not Jesus. He said “She did what she could.”)

-The people around that table that evening seemed far more qualified to minister
to Jesus than she, yet that didn’t stop her.

– Her sacrifice seemed “unspiritual” and lacking wisdom. (It was not!)

– She could have done many other things with that perfume, and other people
(even the “Christ-followers”) would probably have admired her for doing it.
But she chose to bless Jesus and not be affected by the others’ opinions.

– She let go of what had once been very special to her (and her culture),
because Jesus was now far more important that cultural customs & standards.

– Humility preceded this act of love.

————————————————————————————–

After realizing these truths this morning I started writing down “what I could do”
for Jesus that He sees value in, even if others do not.

Most things on my list were non-exciting, normal, daily and
“not-very-spiritual-looking.” Each one required humility, even demanded it.
(insert big SIGH here)
Others won’t notice and probably won’t even see it happening. If they do see,
they may criticize me. I may appear lazy, ridiculous and lacking in judgement.
And yet…
If these are the things that Jesus sees value in now, and asks of me,
then how can I discount their importance?
On Sunday in his sermon, (1-5-14) Chilly said,
“Our job is doing God’s purpose!”

Everywhere I look, every blog I read & pinterest I view, I’m told what I need to do to be
valuable and successful. But Mark 14:8 tells me that Jesus values my willingness to
“do what I can” for Him & directed by Him.
Simple.
Difficult.
Do-able.

Dreams fulfilled

I wrote the following things in my journal last week when I was thinking about
“dreams come true.”

 

Dreams are fulfilled in relationship, not accomplishments.

Relationship with Jesus, Chilly, my children, family and church, etc…

It doesn’t mean that these people fulfill my dreams-
that would be setting us all up for failure.

But rather, it means that the joy of
loving them,
serving them
and having them in my life is enough for me!

I’m livin’ my dreams!

 

 

 

It’s Another Friday..

It’s Good Friday again. One of my favorite days of the year!!
Last year I blogged about the HUGE miracle that Jesus had done in
in our daughter, Courtney’s life back in 1997 and the new
medical challenges that she was facing at that present time.

Now it’s 2013…
and an update is long over due.  MANY of you (who so kindly read this & have prayed)
have inquired about her health over the past year.  I will give a brief update in form
of a bullet list… cuz no one really enjoys LONG medical explainations, right?

– black outs, weakness, headaches, chills, etc
– various blood work
– many tests on her heart and brain
– doctors & specialists are unsure
– specialist finally decides to treat her as though she has particular & unusal type of Migraine
– we don’t necessary believe this what she has, but are willing to try treatment
– Courtney starts daily medication that won’t even begin working for at least TWO months
– within a couple weeks she begins to improve
– we know this is NOT the medication
– in a month or so she is close to feeling like herself again
– six months later the medication prescription ran out…
– and we choose to stop having her take it
– that was in November 2012… and she is Well!

Jesus heals!  Again!
Thank you for praying, for caring and for inquiring about her over the last year!

Another Good Friday! Thank you, Jesus!!!

Courtney Singing an original song YouCharist 2013, Courage Church, Hamtramck

Courtney Singing an original song YouCharist 2013, Courage Church, Hamtramck

Thoughtful Thursday

Summer break has officially ended at our house. School started today. As I think back over the summer I’m rejoicing over the lessons that have bounced around in my head & heart. Here’s a few:

Last day of summer Ice Cream Treat

I’m making a point to pray specific Bible scriptures for people… especially regarding my family & church.

I’m not my kids’ activities director. Yes, I provided a few unusual things to do each week, but their unscheduled time  brought out more creativity than a cart load of preplanned crafts or games.

Being together with the people you love can be such a good thing… even when it’s not super fun (and might even include times of tears and topics of deep sorrow).

Taking time away from the normal routines of life really manages to clear my head and encourage my heart.

I drove on the outside lane of the hugely tall Sunshine Bridge near St. Petersburg Florida… and amazingly I did NOT slide right off the edge! 
My ridiculously weird fear of driving on tall bridges is now a thing of the past! YIPPEE!

 

Self inflicted guilt does not make me better… it does the exact opposite. (and I think sometimes people actually take some sorta weird pleasure in
feeling guilty… when in actuality they should examine themselves. If something
needs to be changed, change it! If it’s unnecessary guilt then stop… and move on!)

And, after 44 years of being a chicken, I finally learned to dive into a swimming
pool. Yes!  Finally!  And my swim coach (aka- my husband) had me do it over &
over again!  Another fear, conquered!!!

Sleeping a little later in the summer months provides some lovely rest & a more relaxed feeling. But, never wondering if my kids will wake up while I’m still spending time with Jesus because I got up when it’s super dark… is even better!!

The joy of having HOME be your school… reading in a tree!

 

Is that BATMAN in that tree?

 

 

 

He’s the Better Artist

I bet you’ve prayed a sincere prayer of submission to God at some point that went something like this….

“Lord, I give you my entire life. Do whatever You want.”

But chances are, when you prayed that, you already had some kind of idea of what that “surrender” would require… you sort of thought you knew what He would ask of you (or not ask of you).  Right?
What if our “mind picture” was totally wrong? What if He asks us to let go something that would completely alter our lives forever? Can He do that? Is He allowed?  Is He really in charge?  Even if it meant that other people, even Christians, would wonder about us?

It’s hard to admit, but we usually have limits and some sort of mind picture when we “surrender,” but He is a much better artist. As a matter of fact, He’s even created the canvas and the paint. We have to let Him paint the picture. We’re just the brush… or as Mother Teresa said, “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.

If I refuse to let Him do the deciding then someone is going to miss His love letter!

 

 

“I’m going through somethin’ right now!”

She hadn’t been there for weeks.
Text after text. Call after call. Even a couple of visits.
No response.

Then, for no apparent reason she texted me back… finally!  YAY!!!!
She thanked me for noticing that she’d not been in church service for a while. She appreciated my love and concern.
She assured me that she was OK & that she’d  be there on Sunday.
YAY!  YAY!!

Sunday came. Tons of hugs. Great conversations. Encouragement. Jesus did beautiful things in so many peoples’ lives. Such a lovely time together…
But she wasn’t there. She missed it all… again. Sigh.

So I called her. No answer. No call back. No response to my text. I don’t wanna bug her…
But what if she’s not OK?

Then she texted again… “Thanks for thinking of me. I’m just really going through somethin’ right now.”


What?  That’s her reason for not being with other people who love her & love Jesus?
That’s why she’s staying away and feeling alone?  oh, NO!

The part that makes this true story even sadder is that i’ve heard the “I’m-really-going-through-somethin” line many, many times! From many different ladies.  It makes no sense.

But, I DO understand this .. when we’re hurting we don’t want it to be obvious & we don’t want to wear it on our faces.
We certainly don’t want to have to talk about it. Or worse yet, we don’t want to get around the warmth of God’s love & let our guard down & then melt into a mess of tears… in front of everyone!  Horror.

Seriously. As backwards as it sounds, when difficulties threatens us, we should get with other Christians even MORE often!  It says it all through the Bible… and it’s true!
Chilly pointed it out in Psalm 53.
In Hebrews 10:25 is says to meet together all the more.

And…Many more places!

When life dishes out yuckiness, we cannot run away from the people who will remind us of the truth, and encourage us, help us and literally fill us with courage. And we shouldn’t feel silly when we show up when things are less than dandy… our own honesty may very well be the strength someone else needs at that moment.

As temping as it may seem to hunker down when we’re hurting;  to shut people out when we’re struggling…
go to church. Be involved.
Talk. Be honest.
Lower your guard & praise Jesus.
Let Him speak gently to your heart.
Help. Serve. Hug.
You might even laugh!
Then you may just find that your somethin’ has turned into something better

 

 

Sometimes…

Sometimes being strong means that you must do nothing.

Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is allow someone else to do it.

Sometimes people don’t need our opinion, they just need our cheers of encouragement.

Sometimes we say too much.

Sometimes we listen to our head and forget that our ears are meant for that.

Sometimes a few words say more than a speech.

 

 

I’m Title-less

“Co-Pastor”

“Woman’s Ministries Director”

“Director of Development,” etc…

Many Pastor’s Wives have titles… it’s kinda the thing to do.

This is not a post to judge them.  (Please make note of that!)

 

I don’t have another title. People know me as “Netta,”  “Pastor’s Wife,”  or even “Mrs. Chilly” All of these are totally fine with me.  (Actually, this past weekend I was even called, “Nana” by a 60-something year old man who tells me I’m like a Mom to him. Admittedly though, if he starts calling me “Grandma” I may have to draw the line!)

Being title-less provides some great benefits:

1. Forces me to find my identity in what Jesus calls me & how He view me.

2. Reminds me that my first calling as God’s daughter is to love & minister to my husband.

3. Offers freedom to minister to all types, ages and groups of people without the strange stereo typing that can happen. (For example, when i was “youth pastor’s wife” the woman of our church were less accepting of something I may have been able to do for them because they just viewed me as the “Youth Lady.” See what I mean?)

4.  Removes that temptation for me to become overly focused on one area of giftings & neglect the growth of other areas in my life.

5. Keeps me on my knees because my “job” is so diverse that I don’t have time to “get into a groove” and forget that my strength & effectiveness comes from JESUS ONLY!

6. Helps me remember that it’s not my position that will leave an eternal effect on others, but rather my life & character.

 

Those of us who love Jesus are all called to encourage & disciple others… period.

Titles don’t do that. Love does.

 

 

 

His Lap

Recently during my morning time with Jesus I was wiping away another round of tears & apologizing to Jesus for all the crying I’d done in recent days.

 
“Lord, I’m so sorry. All I’ve done lately is just sit in your lap and bawl. How pathetic.”

 
“Netta, My lap is your safe place, it’s where you’re supposed to cry. ”

 

 

“The name of the Lord is a strong fortress. The godly run to Him & are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10