Being Built

Building our house seemed to take forever. We would come out and have a picnic on the sidewalk each week watching all the machines digging the earth and moving dirt out to lay the foundation. But no matter how hard they worked, at the end of the day the pile of dirt looked about the same.

One of my new favorite verses is Ephesians 2:22, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Mostly I like it for its verb tense — the present continuous– “are being built.” You are being built, I am being built. We are not finished yet. Some of us are just laying foundation. Some of us are hanging dry wall. And some are decorating and touching up the paint.

Whatever stage, journeying with God is a lifelong process of being built. This one little point that Paul made gives us freedom to forgive ourselves when we are not perfect and hope that someday in Christ we will be the person we were meant to be.

That’s the second key, the passive voice in the passage tells us we are being built in him. What it DOES NOT say is that we are building ourselves. Strangely, trying to build myself into something better has been one of the biggest and most stressful stumbling blocks. But we were never meant to be the architect.

Don’t get me wrong, we still take up our hammer and get to work– but it is not our blueprint. As we live dependently on the Spirit of God to direct our efforts he will build us into what he desires– and you can bet the house he builds will be strong.

Jesus told his disciples, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

Everyday we have to choose to dig out the dirt of ourselves and lay our foundation in Christ if we want to stay standing. Where he tells us to hammer in love, we do. Where he tells us to hang up silence and mercy, we do. When he tells us to dig out bitterness and anger, we do. When he tells us to bring in forgiveness and peace, we do. And where he tells us to lay down trust and joy, we do.

I want my house to stand. I want to lay down the foundation of God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I’m tired of building. I want to be built.

 

Love Never Dies

Early in the morning when the sky was still black, my four year old insomniac tiptoed to my bed.

“What’sa matter sweetie? You can’t sleep?”

She shook her head, climbed up in bed, snuggled in the covers, and turned on her tummy.

“Tickle my back, mommy.”

I danced my fingers up and down, side to side, and around her back in circles til she was calm and ready to go back to bed.

But then, of course, I was wide awake– thinking of the one who used to do the same for me.

When I would sit on my grandma’s gold davenport next to her, I would snuggle into her and then sit up so she could run her fingertips up and down, side to side, and swirling all around. It was so simple, it was nothing really, but it also made me feel loved and special. I could sit there forever and be with her, but of course she would have to get up sometime and pull something out of the oven.

I miss her. But I think of her when I soothe my anxious child the way my grandma taught me. And I wonder who taught her. Did her mother sweetly tickle her back when she couldn’t sleep at night? And her mother before her? I wonder how far back such a simple love of a mother or grandmother started.

It gives me hope. No matter how much we think we mess up as mothers, our little acts of love are what will be remembered and passed down through generations.

And I wonder if someday in the quiet of the night, my daughter will have a little person crawl up next to her and make the request…

“Tickle my back, mama.”

Singin’ in the…bathroom??

Imagine me dressed up in my grey slacks and white blouse ready to teach a college class. A picture of conformed professionalism. I walk into the bathroom before class and something makes me halt.

A woman was singing her little heart out in the bathroom. I mean this was not humming. This was full-out belting her favorite song in a bathroom stall.

That takes guts. That takes a different kind of person … most likely not one in dress slacks.

I stood there and listened for a while. I wanted to figure this lady out. Who was she?? A music major? Did she have a vocal audition today? Or did she truly just like to sing and didn’t care where she was and who heard?

One thing’s for sure. She was not like 99.9% of the rest of the people who would walk in that bathroom today. She was obviously different– in a courageous, quirky, and free kind of way.

Now I don’t know if I will be singing in any public bathrooms, but I do want to be different. I want to be more courageous and free. I want to live life to the beat of Jesus’ drum instead of the pounding drum of the world. I want to sing loudly to him and for him with my life and not care what other people think or say.

I think if we really did sing our lives for Jesus we would start looking quite different than the world — maybe even different than we ourselves look now.

In the book of Colossians the apostle Paul is in prison for his faith in Christ. He was probably very hungry, dirty, hurt, and had no freedom in his immediate future. What was striking to me this time as I read, was how many times he urged the church to be thankful. Every hardship the world could throw at this guy, he had endured not only without complaining, but full of thankfulness and joy. Now that is different. 

Meditate on God’s word for a minute…

“…since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Paul was a good example of his words. He was able to bear fruit because he himself had been filled with the knowledge of God’s will through prayer and faith in Christ. He knew that God’s wisdom and strength were the only things that could show us how to be thankful and joyful and do good works even in the midst of deep sorrow or discouragement or loneliness or pain or judgement or stress. With God’s wisdom we can get through this world looking a little different — looking more like Jesus. 

I sped through the last two verses of Colossians and had to stop myself and read them again.

“Tell Archippus: ‘See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.’ I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” (Col. 4:17-18)

Then I read it again as if he were talking about me. “Tell Andrea Chatelain: ‘See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.’ …Remember my chains. Grace be with you.”

I remember the suffering and imprisonment Paul endured so that I, Andrea Chatelain, would have this bible sitting on my desk. So that I would know who Jesus is and would even be given the privilege of doing his work. Remembering the struggle of Christians before us, and the sacrifice of the cross, that were done with willingness, love, endurance, and thankfulness…makes me pause and evaluate who I am in Christ and who I want to be.

I want to be different not to gain favor, not to be better…but because I am loved by the God of the universe and I am so thankful for his nearness. Thankful that he saved me. Thankful that he is teaching me. Thankful that he hears me when I pray. Thankful that he is working in me through the Holy Spirit to make me different. Just thankful that I am his and not the world’s. 

I want to speak differently. Using words of encouragement and peace in a world of comparison and negativity.

I want to hear differently. Letting others words wash through me in a filter of grace and mercy.

I want to see differently. Focusing on what is eternal instead of what is grabbing for my attention in this temporal world.

I want to love differently. Being patient and kind and forgiving even when it is completely undeserved.

I want to take off all the broken, bitter, self-serving parts of myself and put on Jesus’ love and righteousness through the Holy Spirit when I know my own will never be enough.

And I want all this so that somehow I can just like Archippus, “complete the work I’ve been given in the Lord.” — the work to love my people well.

So yeah. I guess I do want to sing in the bathrooms of life. You?

You intended to harm me, but…

My kids came home with a little craft from bible school last week. It was a strange looking popsicle man with a verse tied to it. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Genesis 50:20. As Luke practiced the verse out loud to me through the week, the truth of it stung my heart each time. Seemed like that word of God was more for me than my kids.

I can look back and see it more clearly now– but in the moments of pain it didn’t feel good. At all.

My story is a lot like many women. We had a healthy baby– he is a vibrant sporty 7-year-old now. But that baby arrived in a crazy whirlwind of stress and anxiety. They put me under during an emergency c-section as his heart monitor was dipping. I woke up later that night thinking I would have a baby in my arms. Instead my eyes opened to doctors and my sister around me telling me they were doing everything they could for my baby. But they wouldn’t say he was ok. 

I had to ask my husband to tell me about the day. He had to tell me that he waited in the hallway not knowing what was going on. Then saw our lifeless baby being resuscitated for 10 minutes. Talk of “cool-capping” to save what would be left of his brain function. He had aspirated his meconium as a sign of stress before being born and had APGAR scores of zero for the first 10 minutes of life…All while I was asleep on an operating table.

And then he breathed.

And he moved. And he cried! And started sucking his pacifier! (or so I’m told by my husband) Luke was 100% fine. We had nurses and doctors coming in the NICU the next 5 days to see the “miracle baby.” The baby that shouldn’t be doing all these things. The baby that should be semi-brain dead or dead or at very least have a severe infection from meconium. But by the amazing power and grace of God that’s what he was, and still is, a MIRACLE. 

“You intended to harm me. But God intended it for good.”

I wrestled with guilt and anxiety about that birth for a year. I felt like I should’ve/could’ve done something more to have avoided that whole mess. But the emotional trauma that was intended by the enemy to harm me, weaken me, break me…God has since used for good.

When situations feel too heavy in my life, or when my friends are facing really hard things, I think of that miracle and it strengthens my faith. I can tell them that God sees them, hears them, and is still working for our good even when we see no good at all. 

I think of the two miscarriages after Luke was born. Where the only thing that made me feel strong was reading my bible. I read each day like it was my life line– the only thing helping me put one foot in front of the other. There were days when the harm felt more than the good…but now I can see it. I can see that God used even that hard time to draw me deeper in faith to him. And as weird as it sounds, I am so grateful. I don’t want to live a perfect, easy, comfortable life if it means that I never get to experience the presence of my God. I felt his help and love in the depths of depression. He was there in a way that no person could be. He used the bad for good.

I always used to want to slap James for writing James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my (sisters) whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

…until I started experiencing the second part of the scripture…

“…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

It is a lifelong journey to know God, but I am confident that I am so much more rooted in God now– not because he’s given me everything I’ve ever prayed for– but because He showed up with His peace and love and strength when I had none. He has used my absolute low points in life to reveal His power and love and build a relationship of trust with me. He didn’t want me to go through that pain, but He wanted me! And as strange as it sounds, I’m so thankful He has let me endure painful times in life because he knew that I would come out the other side with stronger faith and more courage to persevere.

He can use anything, even painful times, to grow our hearts for him and bring us into a closer relationship. “You intended to harm me. But God intended it for good.”

And so, I think of my people who are hurting right now. Friends who are battling in marriage, or in their motherhood, or other strained relationships. Friends who are grieving for the children they lost, or trying to be strong as they wait for a child to come. I think of friends who are caught in addiction or lost in the loneliness of this broken world. And that’s the truth. We will all experience the brokenness of this world at some point because we are caught in the battle until Christ comes back for us.

So we have to persevere, cling to Jesus through the Holy Spirit through this life, and not let the hard stay as harm– but let God use the hard for good.

Too strong for me

imageThis is all I want to say today. God’s word is so good and can stand on its own. He can work on our hearts with a single verse.

” He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

from my foes, who were too strong for me.” Psalm 18:16-17

 

He is powerful enough for all of our junk in our lives.  He sees it and he can do something about it he can pull us out at all the stuff we can’t pull ourselves out of .  All the times the situation feels stronger than us… pray to the God who is also stronger than us and will be with us and rescue us when we cannot rescue ourselves . Thank you God for seeing us, and for loving us.

Just one Flower

I rode all around the 80 acres thinking I would see tons of wildflowers. But there were waves and waves of tall grass, thistles, and trees. I turned a corner and started down the hill and my eye darted to the only vibrant color amongst the miles of dry grass. One flower. Just one.

I slowed the Gator, hopped out, and smiled. Here it was. Strangely all alone on the prairie, but strong and beautiful. In fact, I think it’s solitude made it seem even more special– the fact that it was all alone in it’s splendor. A cone flower usually isn’t my favorite, it isn’t the most spectacular flower, but here, it stuck out. It was different than the same old grass. It seemed to smile in the sunlight.

Of course I see God so clearly in nature. I think we are supposed to. After all, when we look at nature, we are seeing what God has created, his handiwork.

We are his handiwork, too. And I wonder if when people look at me– do they see cream grass, the same as all the world around me? Or do they see a vibrant flower– a life curiously different?

Do they see more love than intolerance? Do they see more patience than nerves? More trust than stress? And more forgiveness than not? I hope so.

I read one of my favorite passages this morning as I prepared for the battle of the day…

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

As the people who God loves so intensely, we are supposed to CLOTHE ourselves with the good things God has given us to put on. He has given us compassion and kindness and humility. He has been gentle and patient with us. And yes He has forgiven us. He’s given us all the good things to clothe us and make us look different than the world around us… most importantly, love.

And when we put all these gifts of God on through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will look more like Him and less like the world around. We will be the flower amongst the never-ending grass. And we will be so beautiful that people all around us will stop and admire and want to be a little closer to get a better glance.

And as the world comes a little closer to our love and kindness and gentleness and compassion and humility, our seeds will fall at their feet and start to grow new faith and beauty all around us.

It only takes one flower in a mile of grass to show God’s sweetness to the world. Only one flower to let her seeds fall and scatter to the wind. You are it. You are dearly loved. You are God’s chosen one. Put on all His colors of goodness and look curiously different to the world around.

God’s Table as Omaha Gives

I was driving to see my grandma in the hospital, praying for everything and lost in emotion this past January. Somewhere in my prayer I told God to use me. I asked Him what He wanted me to do, thinking it would have something to do with my grandma. But into my heart once again popped up, “Call Restored Hope.”

I didn’t know why God was so insistent that I call this place. I had never volunteered at refuge for women before and I was already tapped out from grieving the soon loss of my grandma. Why would God want me to give more of my time and more of myself when I felt broken already??

The answer is because He knew I needed them and they needed me. We needed to start a journey together of lending faith, and sharing Jesus with each other to strengthen the weakest parts of ourselves.

To me, that’s what Restored Hope is. If you go on their website, http://restoredhopeomaha.org, you will find that they “provide sanctuary, advancement, and community to single mothers and their children in abusive environments. We provide them a safe place to live, assist them in finding work and transportation, and present them a reason to live out their new future.”

But more than that, they provide Jesus. Through counseling, bible studies, cooking classes…Jesus is there bringing back life, confidence, love, and passion in these ladies’ lives and in the lives of the volunteers who serve at Restored Hope.

As I think of my people at Restored Hope I have come to love so dearly, Matthew 12-48-50  is all I need to say.  “(Jesus) replied to him, “who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

As I lost my grandma, God filled my emptiness as He raised up a whole new family for me here in Omaha. I’m learning that God’s table is filled with family who don’t look like me, talk like me, come from the same place as me. These women are now part of my family. They are my sisters and I love them dearly. 

I am so grateful that I was invited into the Restored Hope family. So on this Omaha Gives day I want to invite you to become part of Restored Hope’s family with me by giving, praying, or joining in action.

Fighting Fear

I’ve seen it a few times now. The most recent was while walking my dog early in the morning. A huge ugly hawk floating through the air looking for something to eat. Then out of nowhere, a little bird climbs high. She gets above the menacing hawk, looks down, and dives straight into it– pecking at the hawk’s back. She does it again and again as many times as it takes to drive the predator away.

I stand there in the middle of the street looking up and silently rooting for the little bird– marveling at her courage to take on a beast five times her size. And I smile when the hawk gives up and flies away.

I want to be that little bird.

There have been times in my life that I was simply unprepared for scary events. I felt completely out of control and afraid. The threat was real. The fear was justified.

But that’s not how God wants us to live.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power of love and of self-discipline,” 2 Timothy 1:7.

As we face the unknown we have to face it knowing that we are not alone in it. We have His Spirit. You have the strength of GOD in you! And that means that we do not have to be afraid.

We may be small, but there is nothing that can scare our God. 

Sometimes we let fear feel more real than God’s power. Alone, we see the scary hawk and size it up. We know it’s bigger than us, so we assume it will overtake us. That it’s too big for us to conquer. But that is a lie.

As we climb higher and see the situation through God’s power we can see the truth. There is no health problem too big, no person too messed up, and no situation too far gone with the help of God. Our God is not afraid of the things we see as five times bigger than us. And so with His help, we climb high through prayer and attack fear. 

With God we see the scary hawk’s weak spot. We start pecking from above at the enemy’s fear tactics with truth.

We pray. We tell God the truth that we are scared. We tell Him every fear, every what if, every possible troubling thought.

Peck. Peck. Peck.

We ask Him to remind us of His truths. That He loves us and we are His. (Ephesians 1:4-5) That He is with us no matter the outcome. That we have His power and strength within us through His Spirit to conquer anything. Anything. Because nothing can undo the love of God. Nothing. (Romans 8:18-37)

Peck. Peck. Peck.

We ask for His wisdom and power and help and ask Him to be with us– no matter what. And we believe in the truth that God hears us when we ask big things. (1 John 5:13-14) And that He cares about the outcome. He is right there with us as we peck away at all our fears.

Peck. Peck. Peck.

And slowly as we keep pecking away at our fears with God’s truths written on our hearts through His word, we drive away our fear and replace it with His peace.

Most importantly, when we see the big hawk give up and fly away, we remember to praise God for His love and endurance through the battle and for answering our call for help. And we tell everyone we know about how God showed up for us so that more little birds can be strong.

So be strong, little bird.

#allthemoms

I was sitting on a bench at the park with a mom-friend having my only adult conversation of the day. Our kids were climbing the tornado slide and shooting hoops independently while we sat and took a break from mothering. Another mom sat across the park from us… in the sand, digging, laughing, and playing with her kids. Soon she got up, put her little boy on her shoulders while pushing a stroller up a hill.

We sat there watching her amazing mom efforts from our cozy restful bench, and I felt a little humbled by her obvious mothering prowess.

“You’re my hero!” I said to the woman who seemed to have more energy than me and my friend combined.

“Oh, I just finally have a day off to be with my kids! Gotta soak it up.” she said waiving off my compliment.

We are all struggling either inwardly or externally to be the best mom for our kids. And we are all amazing.

That little moment reminded me that there is no place for comparison in mothering. We are all struggling either inwardly or externally to be the best mom for our kids. And we are all amazing.  For some of us that means taking a break on the bench for sanity, and for some it means being present and playing in the sand.

I’ve been on both sides of the mom coin. I’ve been a full-time working mom who misses her kid so much she doesn’t want to go anywhere on the weekends because she wants to soak in every moment with those little snuggle bugs. And I’ve been a stay at home mom who plays all day long and needs her little snuggle bugs to play independently at the park because she’s needs an adult moment.

No matter what way you do it, mothering is the best, hardest, most rewarding, and most emotionally challenging role in a woman’s life. It is full of tender moments that are only experienced between you and your child. And it is full of worry, self-doubt, and fear that you are doing it all wrong or not doing it as well as the next mom.

Here’s some of what I want to say to all my mom friends out there… 

To my pre-moms who are are trying to get pregnant and struggling or who are pregnant and are hyper worried. You are already a good mom because you already love your someday baby and are already wishing and hoping and praying for it’s future. The pregnancy journey can be lonely and long, but God is there to listen to every worry, fear,  or doubt. You will be amazing!

To my SAHMoms of littles who are just plain exhausted. Keep going. Your love and snuggles and never-ending days will be short-lived, but you will smile when you look back on these days and your kids will remember all that you do. Take care of your heart so you can take care of your littles. Know that for you and your life, you are the only person God wanted to take care of those littles which means less of yourself and more of them right now. But it’s worth it and you are simply amazing.

To my working mom friends who are equally exhausted. You are loving your kids just as much and you are building confidence in their little hearts as they see you rockin’ it at whatever you do. I remember when my mom finished college in my teen years with high marks and got her first job at a bank. I had never been more proud of her in my life and I told everyone about her accomplishments. She has been my biggest cheerleader in school, and a listening ear for all my dreams in life– no matter how crazy they are. Working moms, you are simply amazing.

To my moms of teens who are just plain lost in the world of adolescence and are hanging on to motherhood by prayers and God’s wisdom. We are here with you to listen and pray and encourage you. Please remember the lessons you learn on this journey and pass them down to us moms of littles. We will need your help soon! You are our role models. Stay strong. You are amazing!

To my single mom friends. You are stronger than anyone I know. You do it all. Often times with no recognition or help. You are master jugglers of work, school, kids, and emotions. You are so strong that sometimes it’s hard for you to accept help and support. But we are with you. We are for you. We are amazed by you as you lead your people in love.

To my moms of kids that face big challenges— kids who suffer from physical illnesses,  learning struggles, mental, emotional, or social battles. It’s just plain harder. I wish I could take some of your burden and lighten your worry load. But the only thing I know is that our God is bigger and stronger than anything that our kids will face. When you feel out of control, He is in control. Let God be God of every moment that feels too big or too much, and let yourself just be you, amazing and wonderful you.

And to my grandmas and mother-in-laws out there. Simply where would we be without you??? We are so thankful for all the meals, hugs, help, love, and wisdom you have filled us with. You tell us we can do it and we believe you. You lift us up when we feel like we have nothing else. You bring coffee and smiles and sanity to our lives. You invest your time in your grandkids when you could be off doing your own thing. You make this mothering business so much lighter and remind us to keep focused on what’s important. You are simply amazing.

I have so much love for all you moms out there. In a world that tells you you are not enough, I just wanted to tell you that you are amazing.

Happy Mother’s Day!

-andrea

A Double Hoarder’s Testimony

I was listening to a friend talk about her experience with a hoarder recently–helping to clean out a house filled with more than a lifetime of stuff. Everywhere were boxes of worthless junk alongside never worn clothes tags still on. As my friend spoke of trying to clear out the hoarders house, I imagined the scene… and I realized that I am a hoarder too.

Or at least I was. I think a lot of us don’t like to admit it, but that’s exactly what we are before we meet Jesus and before he starts cleaning up our hearts.

I was a hoarder of my sin. I hoarded it all in the dark rooms of my heart because I wasn’t ready to let God come in and do His work to change me. I hoarded unforgiveness and bitterness. I hoarded self-loathing and never feeling good enough. I hoarded comparison and rivalry. I hoarded anxiety, control of plans for life, my importance and  selfishness.

Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of good things in there too. There was love and happiness and kindness. But I wasn’t letting God be my God. I was my god. I hung on to so many things that I wanted or things I couldn’t let go of that were not meant for me as a child of God. I held onto me instead of seeking Jesus. Thank you Jesus for your mercy and love and grace and help…you didn’t let me stay there.

I heard God knocking on the doors of my hoarding heart for a long time when I was younger and for a long time I thought God was good, but bible reading and praying and spending time with God was for other people– not me. I felt like I couldn’t quite go to God with all my crap sitting in all those dark rooms. But God is light and He broke down the door as I said yes to baptism, to reading His word, and talking to Him daily…sometimes all. day. long. And to seeking Him over everything else in life.

Slowly, He has cleared out the rooms as I seek Him and give Him control of my life, my decisions, and my relationships.  He has opened up the windows and flooded my heart with His love, joy, peace, and goodness. I love the person He is building in me through His Spirit, and at the same time I feel sad sometimes for the insecure girl that used to live there.

There’s still some crap to move out. And there are always new issues trying to find a place to hide in my heart. But as I live relationally with God now, I know He will continue His work on this recovering hoarder’s heart.

Hoarding our sin digs us deeper into our sin, but as we give it to God and are just thankful for His forgiveness, transformation starts to happen. On the flip side, we must be careful not to then become hoarders of God.

 

As I got closer and closer to God I read His word with a thirst that could not be quenched. I wanted to know more about Him, more about His love for me, more about His forgiveness for me, more about all the ways He could live and breathe and affect my life. I read my bible to benefit me and my life. For a while I didn’t realize that once we have God at our core, our real work begins. 

Jesus told us to go and make disciples of all (wo)men and love each other– and those commands are not about me, it’s about showing Jesus to others. So that’s what I have tried to do. Whether it’s starting a bible study, ministering to broken women, talking daily and intentionally to our children about Jesus, being brave and talking about Christ to our co-workers, literally loving our neighbors with meals, meaningful conversations, and prayer…the list of ways to show and tell the good news of Jesus to others are endless if we let God use us.

I can’t be a God hoarder anymore. I can’t walk around knowing the love of Christ anymore without sharing that goodness and amazing blessing with my people and my community. Guys we have to let this big cat out of the Sunday bag and let Jesus shine out to all we meet all week long. You are so important in God’s mission to love the world if you want to be. We can’t keep hoarding to ourselves the love and grace God has shown us, we have to extend that boldly and invite everyone around us into the crazy love of Christ. 

So that’s part of my testimony. God saved me from being a hoarder of sin, saved me from being a self-focused-Christian-God-hoarder, really… He saved me from me. And I am so beyond thankful to go serve and testify about a God who cares enough to lift all the heavy boxes from my heart with me.

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