The meat and potatoes of this post is completely inspired by 1- the Holy Spirit and 2- my rockin pastor Steve Hayes of Grace Community Church here in Corsicana, TX. What is about to unfold is the result of a week of marinating on what was said through Steve. I must give credit where credit is due. To Him and to him. Wanna hear more from Steve? Click here to hear some of his past sermons or find out more about visiting my church home.
As a born and raised Presbyterian, I am no stranger to this act.
Prayer just something I learned how to do as a child, like tying my shoes and riding a bike.
In my family, prayer came before dinner, before bed, before whopper life events like exams and championship football games.
It’s just part of daily life.
Wake up. Eat. Pray. Sleep.
And, naturally, my understanding as a child was that prayer should be done with eyes tightly closed (peaking naturally resulted in your prayers being disqualified or so I thought) and heads bowed and hands pressed together.
Then you ask God for things and thank Him for things and you hope He’s listening but you never actually get to hear a response.
As a wee Presbyterian lassie, I always knew God could hear me, but I never really knew if He was going to answer me…I was confounded that Santa could take the time to leave me a brief reply to my cookies and milk but God himself couldn’t take the time to jot down a few words on paper for me.
That’s kid logic, huh?
While my understanding of prayer has vastly matured over the years, there are times, I must admit, when my persistently unanswered prayers seem like they're for nothing.
But this past week I was reminded that just because I ask God for X (a new home, a child, a new job) and do not receive it doesn’t mean He isn’t listening.
In fact, often He not only listens but answers in a way my foolish, self-absorbed human self may not even realize.
So before you write off God as being distracted or distant or detached from your prayer life, let’s take a little closer look at our lives and what He is doing in them. We might just be surprised the way in which God is answering our prayers, sometimes even responding to needs in our lives we weren’t even aware of.
Y’all, He’s always listening. The real question is, are you?
Surprise surprise, I LOVE planning.
I'm aware that the satisfaction I receive from organizing and arranging and scheduling is neurotic and tiptoeing on psychotic, but it's just who I am.
But, once again, I’ve stumped into a familiar scenario…y’all may be familiar with it, too-
It’s trying to plan your life's metaphorical road trip all on your own, meticulously mapping out each food truck to stop at and Paleo diner to visit, only to realize you forgot to put gas in the tank?
I know I'd feel like a captain ding dong if I pulled a stunt like that.
So why do I keep making this same mistake time and time again in my life?
I'm not in charge of my life. God is.
And in 28 years I still battle that concept.
Y'all, when we seek to make plans for our life yet forget something as fundamental as consulting God for His wisdom and discernment, we usually aren't going to be able to go too far.
So today we’re letting Him take the wheel, even if it leads us down a road we’d rather not go.
Now that summertime is here in full swing, I delight in how increasingly tanner my arms and legs seem to appear week after week. Despite my deepening farmer’s tan, I can’t help but feel better about myself when I’ve got a summer glow.
As my wise mom always says, fat always looks better with a tan.
Amen to that, mom. Thighs, even jiggly ones, seem all the more lovely with a little bronze.
Maybe I’m just vain, but I really do feel more confident and better about myself when my skin is a little less pasty and a little more sun-kissed.
But how ironic is it that we can all sport our summer tans, bronzed and glowing from the boosted UV rays outside our doors, without having hearts that are just as radiant and glowing.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be the kind of Christian that radiates light in this world. And what good is that sun tan if what’s on the inside is coated in spirit-darkening despair.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s already a little too much darkness and despair in the world around us, and I’d like to contribute to it as little as possible.
Luckily, I have a source of light that never runs out of batteries, never disappears behind the clouds, and never needs recharging.
Christ is our Light, and we have been designed to reflect His glory and to keep our faces toward the Light.
So today, let's look at ways we can be part of that Light, letting it fill our lives and spill over into the world around us.
As someone who is on the other side of pregnancy, I sure know about cravings. Once those hormones started kickin’ in at 8ish weeks, certain foods I hadn’t touched in years such as Nacho Cheese Doritos, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Sour Patch Kids all sounded SOOOOO tasty. Did I indulge myself in those not-so-Paleo foods? No, I knew better. Instead, I found healthier substitutions for them, such as all natural nacho cheese tortilla chips made down the road in Austin, smoked almond rice crackers with sharp, grass-fed cheese slices, and tart green apple slices.
Cravings are just part of being a human, and they can be physical as well as emotional. Sure, we crave certain foods, as I did in the first trimester of pregnancy, and crave certain drinks, like the crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc or the salty-sour punch of a margarita. But other times, we crave more emotional things such as attention, affection, companionship, or peace.
When these cravings set in, we often go to great lengths in order to satisfy them. Roughly 6 years ago, I lived in downtown Greenville, South Carolina within .2 miles of a Publix grocery store. I was feeling kinda lonely (Mr. HHT was my fiancé at the time and hundreds of miles away) and pretty bored, a dangerous combination for cravings to escalate to irresistible levels. I actually walked down the street into that Publix, bought a medium-sized bag of dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, and tried my darndest not to eat the entire bag in my townhouse.
Or I vividly envision the scene from an episode of Sex and the City when Miranda has an chocolate sheet cake lingering in her kitchen that she can’t seem to escape. She keeps going back to it, cutting tiny slivers off of it, only to return minutes later for a few more slivers. Over a few hours, she has eaten waaaaay too much of it, cannot control herself around it anymore, and throws it away. But, minutes later, she goes into the trash and eats a little more of it! In her desperation, she pours dish soap all over it...Gosh, I wish I didn’t know what that level sugar addiction is like, but I’ve been there, done that.
But why must our cravings often be negative? Why do they usually result in harm to our waistlines or wallets or relationships?
What if our cravings could be for something better, something far more substantial than pizza or Reese’s cups?
What if our cravings could be for something eternal? Something only our God can provide?
Well, my friends, that’s exactly what we’re chatting about today.
Move over cupcakes. Step aside sundaes.
We’re going to be wishing for a whole pile of God’s wisdom, peace, and presence today.
Good afternoon you dazzling ray of sunshine, you!
Hopefully, you’re reading this while overlooking pristine, shimmering waters of a lake or ocean or backyard baby poop. Or maybe you’re out camping in God’s great wilderness.
Me? I’m just hangin’ out at home with a 10 week old, unpacking from a weekend in Shreveport and repacking for a week in Knoxville, loving every single minute of this things called mom life.
However you are spending your Memorial Day today, we can all stand to be reminded of something that’s been on my heart these past few months: God is our strength.
If you’ve gone through the process of bringing a child into the world or have been wingman to your spouse as she endures the process, you know that being a new parent can be tough stuff.
Who knew something so tiny could produce such sounds (not to mention odors) that make you feel ever so defeated, helpless, and, more or less, like the worst parent in the entire world.
On top of all of that, there’s the accompanied exhaustion, sleeplessness, and frustration. Not to mention the near constant state of ickiness and stickiness due to the mass quantities of spit up, boogers, and other undesirable, unmentionable bodily fluids.
Being a parent can be tough stuff.
But let’s face it. Because of our mistake over that one apple years ago, our innate drive to stick our toes over the line, life is tough. We brought this whole sin thing upon ourselves. No getting around it.
Luckily, y’all, we don’t have to do this alone. We don’t have to muster the courage to face the trails and frustrations of daily life on our own.
We have a God that will not only grant us strength but glory-strength.
Let’s take this week on with His glory-strength, y’all.
Well hey there friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since we’ve visited on Mondays. I’ve been a tad preoccupied of the late with my tiny (okay, not all that tiny anymore weighing in at 13.8 pounds at 8 weeks) love nugget, little Lee.
Motherhood, y’all, is such an indescribable experience. I cannot understand how this little man has only been in my life for 8 weeks; I feel like he’s been with me my entire life. No one else, aside from his masterful Creator, knows him better than I do. And the love I have for him…it, too, is indescribable.
I had spent the previous 9 months praying for my son- his health in utero, his journey into this world, his physical and spiritual and emotional and social development and growth once he arrived- and for my husband and myself as godly parents.
And in the last month of pregnancy, I prayed for grace- grace towards my husband as the contractions set it, toward the nurses and doctors caring for me in the delivery room, toward myself as I accepted my new role and my new body.
That last part, of accepting myself as a mother, accepting the toll it would have on my body and emotions and energy, was pretty worrisome to me.
And now that I’m nearly 2 months out from this little man’s arrival into the world, I had hoped that the fluffiness I gained during pregnancy would be gone and my toned arms and thighs and tummy would magically reappear like the promises of a late night infomercial.
I’m embarrassed to admit how frequently I get caught up and transfixed on my body’s current, squishier appearance, how I can’t help but envision the sculpted biceps and abs from last summer, and how easily I forget all of the other wonders it is accomplishing right now.
Why don’t I look like that yet? It’s been nearly 2 months! That belly is gross. You’re not as attractive as you once were. You’re never going to get your body back. Just accept the reality of the squish, Michelle.
How quickly I allow let those poisonous thoughts to creep into my mind as I look in the mirror...yikes. And I know I'm not the only one who does this.
Whether its comparing myself to my former body or the bodies of others, comparison is a dangerously evil game. Christ clearly warns us how treacherous this activity can be in distracting us from what really matters: we are sacred, we are precious, we are His. And that’s what we’re focusing on today.
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!