No Apologies Necessary

 I have a pink, fluffy bathrobe that I wear around my house all day.  Even if I am fully dressed, I wear my bathrobe and slippers.... all day.  So when someone stops by my house, the conversation goes something like this : "Oh gosh, you'll have to excuse my appearance.  I just haven't gotten around to getting out of my bathrobe yet today."  The problem comes in when these visitors come back two or three more times and I'm still in my bathrobe. By the third time, I answer the door saying something like this, "yup, I'm in my bathrobe again as you can see.  I'm not sure why I apologized for it the first time you came because in all reality, this is how I look all the time unless I'm taking the kids to school. And even then I may stay in the car with my pink bathrobe and glasses on." They end up laughing and commenting that they wish they could do the same.  

So why is it that I feel I need to apologize?  Why is an apology needed when I feel like I'm doing something that doesn't fit in with the social norm but it fits in with my norm? Ever since I was a young girl I've struggled with self esteem. I found that if I looked good on the outside,  I was admired and accepted.  I played this game for a long time, and the world played back, complementing my external graces. I don't say this in boasting, I say this because I am coming to a knowledge that beauty is fleeting. (Proverbs 31:30). I see myself even now with my daughters, constantly building them up in regards to the way they look, doting over their outfit or their hair, but leaving little said about their character. 

About three years ago, when I noticed my first wrinkle (joke), I had somewhat of a mid-life crisis.  The overwhelming fear that my youth and beauty were disappearing really jolted me. All I could think of were the magazines that showed all of these famous actresses with no make up on demonizing them for getting old.  I faced the fact that I was getting older, and unless I intervened with medical procedures, gravity was going to have it's way eventually.  It may sound shallow, is shallow.  It's shallow in the sense that God created me with so much depth that I never really gave consideration to because I thought the most I had to offer was the way I looked. Now that my external was deteriorating, what really did I have left? 2 Corinthians 4:16 says this: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
 Valuing and discovering who God had created on the inside was just as important as who He created on the outside. 

1st Samuel 16:7 says:  The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

What is at the heart of who I am? What does God see when He looks at me? He tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). It says He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). What is found on the inside is eternal.  What we create from the inside is eternal.

Going Deeper:

-What identifies you in life?  For me it was my appearance but it could be a job, being a mom, a wife, etc...  If this identity was taken away, would you still have something left?

-Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you areas where you may value the external over the internal.

-List 3 things that are valuable about you that have nothing to do with your appearance but rather your character.



What's Wrong With a Size 10?

What's Wrong With a Size 10?

Psalm 139:14-16New International Version (NIV)

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.


Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

No Pain, No Gain

Tis the season to eat gluttonously and then, as with buyers remorse, frantically run to the gym to work it off. Yup, it's that time of year.  It's always so much harder to get back to the gym after you haven't been there in a while. A long while. So last week as I was doing my abs class, I was pleasantly surprised that within the first 20 minutes I wasn't actually gasping for air, I was on top of my game, actually pushing myself! I looked back at my my husband with a humble brag, "I can't believe I'm not even tired!" And then it happened...mountain climbers. My body slowly disintegrated before me eyes, and I do not mean a good "I'm getting skinny" disintegrating. I mean all of the life had just been sucked out of every muscle in my body and I looked like a fish out of water flopping around trying to get my body to cooperate. All of a sudden I was eating my words.  The rest of the class was a bit of a blur. Between the wall sits and side planks I'm quite sure I was unconscious. My only goal was finishing. 

The whole experience reminded me of my present spiritual state of mind. It's so exciting when God gives us new ideas and reveals greater plans for our lives.  We start out with so much gusto, so much vigor. Soon, we realize that the words He spoke are a lot easier to believe when they are written on the pages of a book versus being written on our lives.  What looked like a cakewalk had now become a 17,000 foot mountain and we hear ourselves saying "I didn't sign up for this."  And in that moment, the spirit of defeat begins to take root in our hearts. But God designed us to win. He designed us to finish.  We are more than conquerors through Christ. (Romans 8:37) When we finish we win, because the race we run isn't against an earthly opponent, rather ourselves.  With every mile we run and cliff we conquer, we allow God to create in us the character that is making us more like Him. When we finish and look back at what we've conquered, we realize it wasn't about overcoming the obstacle at all.  It was about who we became through the journey.

After last nights college football championship between Clemson and Alabama, Coach Nick Saban talked about how there was one word that he grilled into his team this year.  One word that would become their credo.  That word was "finish".

Wherever you are in life today, God has created you to win.  He created you to "finish"!

Sing Your Own Song

A friend of mine messaged me some "God songs"  she'd been working on the other day.   Not just the words, but a voice memo of her singing them.  You might be thinking "what's the big deal, you're a musician, you probably do this all of the time".  Well, yes and no. You see, this friend has no musical background and really never sings in public. But from the moment she started singing to her very last note I was mesmerized.  Not because of her amazing voice or her clever lyrics, although they were very good, but because it was the first time in a LONG time that I had heard someone sing a song because they loved the subject of their song, not the song itself. I could hear her passion and authenticity in every inflection in her voice.  It was a breath of fresh air. It was raw and unpolished and pitchy and unconventional, but it was incredible! It wasn't the sound of someone singing the words that some other saint had written years ago out of their own experience and passion for God, or the song that a worship leader had chosen for her to sing, it was her own. It was her own expression of deep calling to deep. (psalm 42:6-8)

Authentic worship. It's a buzzword and all of the worship community covets it, but authentic worship starts in our homes by ourselves with no one around. It starts when we let our guards down and we risk sounding silly and looking foolish for the sake of the one we worship. When David brings the Ark of the Covenant back into the city in 2 Samuel 6, it says that he leaped and danced before the Lord.  His wife despised him for it, and he replied "I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." for the sake of the Lord. He stopped worrying about what all of the others would think of him and started realizing that He stood before an audience of one. We stand before an audience of one whether we are in our living rooms or a congregation of hundreds of people. David took the step of being vulnerable before the Lord when he was alone (Psalms), giving him the confidence and freedom to be vulnerable in the presence of thousands. 

The reason we have great worship songs is because someone let their guard down with God alone and then shared it with the world. And although there are some great worship songs out there, they're not your song. They're not the song that YOU'VE written out of YOUR experience of what the Lord's done in YOUR life. That's what He wants to hear...even if it's sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat!


Love is Not a Season

It's a bluebird sky, seventy-seven degrees with a light breeze. Well, not really.  The wind just blew my beach chair off the dock into the water, but overall, it's perfect. As I look out across the lake, I notice that now, with it being mid-September, the sun is changing, the leaves are beginning to fade and the lake is desolate aside from the lingering seagulls. It's different.  It's different than the premature start of summer, when we hit the lake for the Memorial Day Weekend and all of the anticipation that has built up throughout the winter causes us to do crazy things, like jump in Lake Michigan when it's only sixty degrees out! The glimpse of summer on the horizon creates excitement and wonder.But as I sit here watching the fall winds whip across the lake pushing shadowy ripples this way and that, I am reminded that winter is coming. In the midst of my thought I catch myself saying "I love this place no matter the season" and God responds, "I love YOU no matter the season".  God's love is not a season, and the love that he gives through us to others was never meant to depend on the season.

My husband and I have seen many different seasons in our nearly 11 years of marriage, and he  would agree that most of these seasons have seemed like the coldest of winters. The terrain was lifeless, the temperatures chilling and a few times nearly unbearable. Our marriage finally changed when we realized that love was not a season.  We decided that although we may go through different seasons in our marriage, that our love was not going to change. That as sure as the setting of the sun and the hanging of the moon, so would be our love and commitment to one another.  Many of us say these vows when we get married, and most of us mean them until the seasons begin to change and we don't recognize the familiar anymore. We want so desperately to be "in love" forever, but don't acknowledge that love isn't something we fall out of, it's something we walk out of.  Because when we get down to the nitty gritty of this abused word called love, and the depth of what God truly intended for it to be, it really doesn't have anything to do with how we feel,  it has everything to do with how we act.

1 Corinthians 13; Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails. 

There is beauty in every season if we allow love to be our constant. 


When I was 16, all I could dream about was having my own convertible and heading to Florida for Spring Break with my girlfriends.  Instead, I was stuck in an old Ford Econoline van with my dad sister and 2 brothers.  It wasn't even one of those cool designer vans.  It was a 1978 rusted out, no heat throwing, gas guzzling junker.  However, we had a really cool custom loft in the back that we got to sleep on, no seatbelts, highly was great.  Needless to say, the van did not do much in the way of attracting the men of our dreams that my sister and I so desired at the ever maturing age of 16.  On the contrary, when we pulled into the beach parking lot we would slide down in the seats and make everyone else get out before we did.  We needed to make ourselves look better than we really were.  If we only had that convertible. 

20 years later, I'm landing at the Phoenix airport with my girlfriend Rhonda.  We had decided to take a last minute spring break.  As we finished the paperwork for our car rental, they had mentioned upgrading to a convertible.  We looked at each other with big grins.  We loaded our luggage into our new Ford Mustang convertible, put the drop top down and cruised out of the parking garage.  As we pulled up to a stop light, I looked around. Palm trees, best friend, convertible, spring break... I would have given anything to have had this 20 years ago.  

That's when I realized, I couldn't have handled it 20 years ago.  I would have destroyed myself had I had this 20 years ago.  There are so many things that we want so badly at the time but it's for the wrong reasons.  We try and convince ourselves that our motives are pure, but only God can see the heart of man/woman.  There are so many times when I wonder why God didn't allow me to put together an album earlier on in my life.  I get the same answer that I got with the car... you would have destroyed yourself.  Our success with the Lord is more important than our success in life.  He is more concerned with our soul prospering than He is with what we can accomplish. "Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you." When we seek Him first, he gets us to the place where we understand what we're supposed to do with all of the "things".