The Flower Bed Failure that Changed My Life

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“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I pulled harder and harder, it finally broke and I fell with a thud to the ground. With stickered vines surrounding me, I cried. I had been pulling at them for what seemed like hours and they only seemed to be multiplying. They were deeply rooted and I had to dig and pull, and dig and pull some more to free one single root. It was maddening! This flower bed around a beautifully established shade tree near the front of our 5 acres had been neglected far too long and the weeds had taken over. It didn’t happen overnight but a little at a time, this once vibrant garden had reduced to a big pile of overgrown weeds, choking out the beauty and life. As I sat on the ground, with scratched up arms, frustrated, I felt a gentle whisper through the breeze, “This is your life. And this is your struggle.”

Over the last year, I had turned my life back to God and was seeking Him again. I was trying to clean up the mess I’d created but still hadn’t internalized that I couldn’t do it. Pulling up my own weeds, I wasn’t getting anywhere at all. In fact, the thorns were hurting me, piercing me with regret. I realized in that moment as my Father wrapped me in His arms and gently spoke, that I needed Him to use His supernatural gardening skills to make me beautiful again. He was my only hope. He was the protection from the pain of the thorns. He had forgiven me and was waiting for me to allow Him to have complete control. I could think I’d pulled up a weed but the root was still there, festering and growing, waiting to rear its ugly thorns once again.

When sin is rooted deep in your life and you’ve left it there for long periods of time, it chokes out the beauty. We can pull it up, but most of the time, there are still underlying roots that lie dormant for a time. We can feverishly work at cleaning our lives up but if we don’t let Christ do it for us, the weeds of sin will at some point come to the surface again.

In that moment, I released all control. I asked my Father to take the reins in cleaning up my life and acknowledged that He was my only hope.  I asked Him to plant in me good roots and to nurture them as they grew deeper and deeper, so that I would stand firm in all seasons of my life. The tension released and a calm come over me that is unexplainable. Sobbing, I sat in silence for a long while thinking about what I’d learned. What HE had taught me.

As I sat on the ground, dirty, sweaty, and in need of Him, He found me and loved me where I was.

Peace. It had been a long time, but I was finally at peace.

I picked myself up and cleaned up the mess around me but I never worked in that flower bed again. To this day, it is a reminder to me of the damage that weedy roots can have in my life. Sin, anger, bitterness, hopelessness, and depression have NO room to take root when the life of Jesus completely fills me. So every day, I give my life to Him. I pray for protection. I pray for Him to have complete control.

And I thank Him for the the flower bed failure that changed my life. 

What roots have you bound?  Jesus is the only one able to pull them up. Will you let Him?

The Calling of Everyday Ministry

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You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

There’s something I want to share with you that only a small handful of people have heard until now. God has called me into full-time ministry. This calling has happened over the last year and during a time of recent fasting and prayer, I finally knew that it was real and truly from God.

So, after that realization, I thought it might be time to share my concerns with my almighty Father, who just happens to know the future, everything about me, all the pieces that will fit together, and has the ultimate plan. <insert eye roll at my lack of faith>

  • How can this happen?
  • We can’t afford it.
  • When will this happen?
  • I’m not equipped. I’m not ready.

In not so many words, my faith was shaken.

You see, when I think of “ministry,” I think of quitting my job, reading my Bible and studying a lot more than I have time for right now, meeting with people to share Jesus with them, maybe working for my church and through the ministries they have, writing full-time, and even possibly speaking (Yikes! Scary…). All these things could be a “full-time” ministry but let me share with you what Jesus has shown me in the last few weeks.

As a child of God, I am always in full-time ministry.


In the job I hold now, I am in ministry. There are people there that need the love of Jesus shown to them and I have the unique opportunity to be the light of the world to someone who may not see it anywhere else in their life.

At the grocery store when I see a lady in the parking lot crying because of a hard time she’s going through, I am in ministry.

At home, when my family is gathered around the table for dinner, I am in ministry.

At a school event for my children, when there are hurting people all around me, I am in ministry.

At a restaurant, when the individual serving us might be struggling to make ends meet and wondering where God is, I am in ministry.


As Christians, we are to be a LIGHT in this dark world and give our Father glory for what He has done in our lives. We can do this wherever we are.

It’s so tempting for me to think that I can’t be in full-time ministry when I still have a secular job and too many responsibilities to have the time. But this is so far from the truth! I can be a light right where I am, in this very season of life.

And you can also be a light right where you are, in this very season of life.

Allow Jesus to be integrated into every area of your life. See Him not as an addition or in a separate box, but as your Father, your friend, that you take with you wherever you are. Be a full time minister of the good news of Jesus and what He’s done in your life. It’s our calling.

When you see the next hurting person in your everyday world, remind yourself that THIS is your everyday ministry. When all of us light up the world within our reach, together we will light up the world.

 

If you would like to connect with me, please feel free to do so! I’d love to hear from you. ~Angie

Let Compassion Be Your First Response

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As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ “Neither this man, nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him…” John 9:1

A story comes out in the news about a teenager killed in a car wreck at 2 a.m. The first questions I hear and/or read are “Was he drunk?” “Surely he was out partying. Why else would he be out in the middle of the night?” “How fast was he going?”

A woman is just diagnosed with lung cancer and the first question I hear is “Did she smoke?”

A man is on the side of the road with a sign. There are many people who will immediately ask, “What did he do to get to where he is?” before they will even consider helping him. I have to admit I’ve asked the same question.

So many times, we as a society feel the need to determine if a bad situation in someone else’s life is justified before we allow ourselves to feel compassion. We want to know, “Is there a sin that caused this?” and if so, we excuse ourselves from feeling compassion or being there to help them.

This is what the disciples did when Jesus came across a man who was blind and had been blind since he was born. Their first question was not asked from a stance of compassion but from a critical spirit. They seemed to be saying, “It doesn’t matter that he is blind, not if he deserves it.” Jesus quickly put them in their place when He tells them there is no sin that caused it. What He did say puts every tragedy and hard thing I’ve ever experienced into place. “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Notice the word “works.” It is plural, meaning this one miracle was not the only display of God’s hand in his life that others would see. It means that this miracle was only the beginning of how God was going to work in and through this man’s life. 

So why is it that we have to decide if someone experiencing a hard time deserves it or not before we show them compassion? Does it somehow let us off the hook if we can reason that they deserve to be in this situation? 

I would love to see the church welcome ALL people in ANY situation, whether we believe they deserve it or not, and at the very minimum give them our time and prayers as they search for God, meaning, and a way out of the depth of sorrow they are in. We should respond first with compassion and then later, if needed and in the spirit of love, ask the questions needed to help someone not end up in the same situation again.

 We have an opportunity to minister as Jesus did, not turning away anyone who earnestly was seeking Him and even pursuing those who did not yet know who He was. Personally, I would rather err on the side of compassion with the chance of them taking advantage of the situation then to miss an opportunity to introduce someone who is authentically hurting to Jesus through my kindness and compassion.  

Sometimes, there is no reason for the storm other than Jesus be glorified through it, but even if there is a reason, let compassion be your first response. 

A Call for U.S. Christians to Unite in this Election Season

The uproar over politics has had me in a bit of a whirlwind of emotion. My own family, split in our decisions over who we are voting for President. My carnal self fights the belief that a person with any sort of sound, moral, Godly judgment would vote the way I am voting. It has been an internal battle I am ready to say farewell to and not see for a very long time… I mean never.
I do not know much about politics and though I try to do my research on candidates and vote how I believe God is leading me, I cannot claim to fully understand how it all works. For that reason, I rarely weigh in on politics and I’ve never used this platform to do so but this isn’t really about politics anyway. It’s about truth. And we all know truth is not seen so much in politics, unfortunately.

Here’s truth: There are good people, truly seeking God in their decision, who are voting for Trump. There are good people, truly seeking God in their decision, who are voting for Clinton. There are good people, truly seeking God in their decision, who are voting for anyone else other than Trump or Clinton. 

This has been a hard thing for me to come to terms with but as I look at my own circle of friends and family, I know without a shadow of a doubt, this is true. In my immediate family, I believe all the candidates are covered! Just because someone is voting for a particular candidate of whom you do not approve (or may even think is evil), does not mean they are evil, immoral, or not a Christian.

Satan loves the dissension he is creating between family members, church family, and society. We are seeing more ugly words being spewed towards each other and fights on social media than I’ve ever seen before. Personal attacks on character because of political opinion are plastered all over the walls. And Satan loves it.

Ironically enough, in our attempt to stand up for what’s right and stand up for the issues that we believe in, we are tearing each other down. We are hurting relationships and we are hurting our witness. In many instances, we do not appear any different than the world, saying the same things as everyone else, in the same way, and spouting off at our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Can you imagine the effect we would have on our country if we all were as passionate about following Christ as we are politics? What if we had as much belief in God that He is able to transform our world and perform miracles as we do the next President being able to affect our country? What if we pursued God in prayer and shared His message as passionately as we destroy candidates on Facebook? You might believe that you are following Christ by being passionate about politics and trying to influence others to vote for the one who you believe aligns more closely to Biblical standards and I can see that and understand it. But there are so many other avenues through which God can move and work through us! 

Here’s an idea for us to consider: What if God is giving us an opportunity to stand together, despite differing opinions, and rise up to be the Church He created us to be? What if we realized that the Church, through Christ, has way more power to change our country than the President? And what if we acted on that belief? 

This would be something that would make others pause and take notice. This would be a way we could stand up and stand out from what the world sees on a daily basis. This would be a way for us to be “set apart” in a way that brings light and encouragement to others. I’d love to see people on social media start making statements like “My good friend, ______, is voting for (a person I’m not), but I know she’s seeking God in this decision and is a wonderful person. We may disagree but I love her and think the world of our friendship. And both of us know that ultimately, God is in control. #USChristiansUnite”. Of course, there are many private people so we wouldn’t want to share that without consent. But can you imagine the statement we could make?!!

We have 3 and a half weeks until the election. I highly doubt anyone is going to change their mind at this point. What do we have to lose?

B.A.M, Pain, and Jesus

img_5144It’s tough to get out of bed at 4:30am to make it to my 5 o’clock exercise class. On top of that, there are mornings like today when it takes everything I have just to keep going. But I love it. The feeling, the pain, sweat dripping, rapid heart rate, and even the red face. And I love the women I see each morning, all adorned in their natural God-given beauty with determination in their eyes.

B.A.M. Body and More Fitness. There’s a reason for the name as we work on our bodies, minds, and spirits. On Friday’s, they play for us “Jesus Jams.” It’s my favorite day and one of the many reasons I’ve grown to love going.

On my way home this morning, I was thinking about how much it hurt as I was pushing through the tough workout. It seemed to be tougher than a typical Friday. I thought about the music that was played and that I didn’t get an opportunity to really listen to the words like I normally do. I was too caught up in how much I hurt and was just trying to keep going. 

Isn’t that how it is in life sometimes? When we are in a painful season, we focus so much on the pain that sometimes we don’t take the time to focus on Jesus. We may know He’s there, in the background somewhere, but all we can do is feel pain. In 2 Corinthians 2:16-18, Paul writes, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

The pain of an exercise class is temporary, just like the pain of what you may be going through right now. But we have a God we can fix our eyes on and know that it will not last forever! You will notice as you shift your focus from your pain to Jesus and the peace He gives, the pain will be more manageable. And until the day He wipes away your every tear for eternity, you can have confidence that He is renewing your spirit, making you whole, and will walk beside you every step of the way.
There are gains my body will make because of the pain of working out. It breaks down my muscles and when they rebuild, are stronger than before. The same is true of the pain you may feel in your life today. Keep your eyes on Jesus, let Him break down the things in your life that may need rebuilt, and see how much stronger you will become in Him!