the power of “likes”

“It always happens. We can both post a picture on Facebook, and your post will get twice as many ‘likes’ as mine.”

These may not be the exact words, but a comment like this was heard in our home recently. Our home with – wait for it – two adults in their 50s. Seriously! And this is not the first time this type of comment has been incredulously uttered.

Now let me clarify. There was a ton of laughter, and nobody was truly hurt by this reality (at least I don’t think anyone was). Along with the laughter, there was some math. Yes, math. (I wrote about how much I love reading last week. Well, I also kind of like math.) The one who tends to get more “likes” on these similar posts is the one who has 2.5 times as many “friends.” It just makes sense. The real tragedy is that the one with 2.5 times as many friends does not get 2.5 times as many likes on these similar posts.

Although we had a good laugh, this is not a laughing matter for many people we know. Obsessing over the “likes” is a reality in our culture. Here are some examples.

  • One person deletes a tweet after four hours when nobody has “favorited” said tweet.
  • Another person likes their own Instagram post to increase the number of likes – but only after there are enough “likes,” so it isn’t obvious.

Maybe you just post what you want with no thought of “likes.” I typically lean in that direction; however, I am not immune to being affected by social media. Recently I celebrated a birthday, and I enjoyed lots of birthday wishes and encouraging words on my Facebook timeline. I will be honest – I didn’t hate it. I think most of us enjoy words of affirmation (even if that isn’t our main “love language”).

Going to bed that night I felt very loved. And then I remembered my birthday four years ago when two people posted on my timeline. Not a typo – TWO! I think two more people posted the day after my birthday for a total of four. I am not going to lie – I remember being a little bummed that day.

So, even though I don’t count “likes,” on that day four years ago I remember “counting” birthday posts. Okay, I didn’t have to actually count because Facebook will tell you, “(this many) friends posted on your timeline for your birthday.” Thanks for rubbing it in, Facebook.

Maybe you can’t relate to my situation. Maybe you can’t relate to the other examples above. Maybe social media is not a big part of your life. But, have you ever found yourself allowing the words or opinions of others to affect you? Have you ever found yourself looking for the favor of those around you?

Why do you think that is? One word:

Idolatry

In her book, face time: your identity in a selfie world, Kristen Hatton defines idolatry as “anyone or anything that takes God’s place in your heart.” When I allow others (via social media or in real life) to govern what I believe or how I think, I am giving them control over my life – control that is rightly God’s. Ugh! Gross!

Thankfully, I can go to God’s word to be reminded of His truth – truth about Him and truth about me. Starting with the truth about Him is key! The truth about me is built on the foundation of WHO HE IS and what He has done for me!

I am also thankful that God has put people in my life who speak His truth to me. They remind me that God is doing a work in my life. They remind me that ” he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Finally, I am thankful that my identity is in Christ and not in the “likes!”

***You can get a copy of Kristen’s book here or here.

a brilliant idea

Last summer my oldest had a brilliant idea, which shouldn’t be surprising. He is borderline genius after all. For real. No joke.

The idea? Family book club. My kind of adventure!

I know, I know – my kind of adventure is also bungee jumping, zip lining, traveling to new places, trying new food, karaoke, riding bird scooters (and falling off to avoid running over oldest – story for another day)…the list could go on.

But, I LOVE reading. Before I ever started school, I loved reading, so I absolutely loved this idea!

We each picked a book (there are four of us), and from mid May through September of 2018 we read them and discussed. Now, word has it that some of us didn’t finish every book, but because this was my kind of adventure, I did. And, even though three of the books were fiction, they were each unique – just like the four of us.

We read:

  • a science fiction, satirical, anti-war novel published in the 1960’s and on a list of 100 books everyone should read.
  • a non-fiction memoir which was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Hanky not included but needed.
  • a young adult fiction book that is the first book in a series (I do like a good series!)
  • a novel written by a Swedish author full of humor and a tear or two.

There is so much that I loved about this besides the obvious – the reading.

I loved that each of us picked a book that fit our personality.

I loved that I read books that might not have made it to the top of my reading list last summer – or ever.

I loved that it was a fun way for our family to connect, since there are many miles between us. One kid is near the Pacific. One kid is near the Atlantic. We are in the middle. Thankfully, technology makes it easy to have a long distance book club.

And, I loved that it was fun! Right up there with loving adventure, I love fun! (For those of you who are into the enneagram, can you tell my number?)

This is something that anyone could do, and it doesn’t just have to be family. You could do a long distance book club with friends, too. I might need to set one of those up – anyone want to be a part of my potential long distance book club? 

So, are you wondering what we actually read last summer?

We read:

  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • My Grandmother asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

I would love to share one of these books with one of you, so I guess we need to have a contest!! I LOVE winning things; hopefully you do too! To have your name entered to win your choice, like this post and follow my blog – that is super easy. If you want a second entry, comment with your guess for which of the books was my choice. (Or for those of you who know my whole family, you might be able to guess for all four of us.) For a third entry, share this post on your social media. I will draw a name from those who “enter” and let you pick the book you would like for me to send to you. Deadline to enter: Wednesday, February 27 at midnight CST.

May the odds be ever in your favor!


maps

A week ago yesterday, my honey and I had the opportunity to attend the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead stadium.

It was loud.

It was cold.

It was fun … until the end when the home team lost. This is NOT a post about that loss.

After walking with the crowds to our car, and waiting to exit the parking lot, our exit took us a different way than expected. A way we had not traveled before.

No problem, right. We have google maps.

Except when we don’t.

(For some reason our cell service was spotty, even with three out of four bars.)

So, we began by just following the crowd – I can hear my parents telling me that is not a good idea. I probably told my own kids that – oops. But we really didn’t have a choice. (That excuse would not have worked with Big Charlie).

Finally, the map in my app loaded. Hooray! But, it still wouldn’t let me use it to find the way home (silly “poor signal”). Boo! So what did I do?

I read the map! Crazy, right! Who does that?

(Besides Dora – is she even still around?)

Well, I love reading maps. As a child on family road trips, I always enjoyed having a map to follow. Living overseas after college – I had to be able to use a map to get around my city. When I worked at Princeton University, I had to use a map to get from Richardson, TX to Princeton, NJ. I also drove from NJ to Daytona Beach, FL to work with students one summer – I had to have a map to plan my stops and to get to where I needed to be.

So, after that tragic Chiefs overtime loss (oh yeah, I am not writing about that), I read the map to get us to the highway we knew would take us home. It was an adventure – right up my alley.

I do think people should be map “literate” – have the basic ability to read a map. However, as I thought about our map adventure, it made me think of something else I think people should be able to read – the Bible.

I grew up going to Bible teaching churches, yet I was not taught how to read the Bible. I was encouraged to read my Bible but not really taught how to do it.

I think there is an assumption that if a person can read, they can read the Bible. Well, yes and no. Yes, a person who is able to read can read the words in the Bible. However, just reading the words does not equal knowing and understanding the Bible. True literacy is more than just reading; it is reading with understanding. I know how to read Spanish (I have the capacity to pronounce the words correctly), yet I would not understand the majority of what I read. This is my simplistic explanation of what it might look like to be Biblically illiterate. From my own personal experience and observation, I think many church attenders and followers of Christ are just that – Biblically illiterate.

I realize that a number of times, I have been guilty of encouraging people to “get into the Word” without teaching them how. For that I am sorry. I have mentioned more than once on this site the importance of reading God’s Word – and I will continue to do so.

The Bible is a gift. God reveals Himself to us in it. To know Him, we have to read His word – we have to read it rightly, in context.

So,

I want to point you to a resource to help you in the reading of scripture. Our church has a series on their blog called “Feasting on the Word.” This ongoing series speaks to the importance of Biblical Literacy, walks the reader through an outline of the Bible, and then speaks to how we should read different genres in God’s Word. My explanation falls short of how beneficial I believe this series to be, so I want to encourage you to take some time and begin reading through it. The first post in the series can be found here.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

 

 

allergic to goals

Goals give me hives!

This has been my mantra for much of my life – even before I realized it and put it into words. I married a wonderful man who thinks in terms of 1, 3, and 5-year goals. I am amazed how he patiently walks with  me through life. I have learned that some type of goals are beneficial and help me accomplish things, so why the aversion to them?

I have a fear of failure.

If you never verbalize or put a goal in writing, you can’t fail to reach it, right? I have been good at starting things but not always good in the follow through.

“a joyful adventure” is a perfect example of this tendency. I started posting to this blog a year ago. (My first post was on failure – how appropriate.) I posted pretty consistently for a while, then posted once a month, and totally failed to post anything in November and December. Ugh! And, it wasn’t because I didn’t have ideas or things on my heart; I just didn’t sit down and do it.

And each week I didn’t post anything made it that much more difficult to sit down and post. I could have just moved on to “the next thing” (whatever that is), but I just couldn’t. I knew that I needed to keep writing – not for anyone who happens to read these posts. I needed to keep writing for me, for my growth, and for the glory of the One who created me.

I also knew that I needed to set some kind of goals (gasp – where is the Benadryl?) to motivate me in 2019 – relating to this blog, and relating to life in general.

Relating to “a joyful adventure” – I will post at least two times per month in 2019. You might hear from me more, but you will at least hear from me twice a month.

Relating to life in general – I am going to be more intentional in my daily life, my relationships, my school work, and in my walk with God. That may seem a bit general, and it is. How I intentionally live will look differently than how you do it. God may place specific things on my heart that He has not placed on yours. It will be fun to see exactly how He does it – it will be an adventure!

As I wrestled with my first post after being absent for a few months (3 since my last post) I saw how anti-gospel my fear of failure is. Believing my performance gives me significance or value is believing a lie. Believing that I can do anything on my own to gain God’s favor is a lie. My standing before God is not based on my worth (or performance) but on the work of Christ. 

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-5)

I am starting this year thankful for God’s grace in saving me.

I am starting this year fighting the lies that my heart tends to buy.

I am starting this year excited for the joyful adventure God has for me in 2019.

Join me in this joyful adventure!

 

 

weakness

This past week I donated blood – well, I attempted to donate blood.

It did not go well.

I made it fine through the pre-check – blood pressure good, temperature good, hemoglobin fantastic.

I made it to the chair where I was going to make a double red donation.

A double red is a little more involved where they take the whole blood out, but return the plasma and platelets to you while keeping the red blood cells to help others. I have done this before without issue.

The donation started fine, but then on about the third cycle of returning my platelets and plasma, I felt a weird sensation in my arm, and the machine I was attached to sounded an alarm.

SO EMBARRASSING!!!

I know that sounds weird – but I felt inadequate in the moment. I felt like there was something wrong with  me.

Then, after the technician tried to make it work (it didn’t), she removed the needle, had me put pressure on the site and lift my arm.

All of sudden I started feeling light-headed.

I didn’t say anything – I blinked, hoping it would pass.

It didn’t.

Then I began to see dots.

I took deep breaths, hoping it would pass.

It didn’t.

So, I spoke up and told the tech that I felt faint. You might be thinking, finally!!!

She quickly took the blanket off of me and the heat packs they had on me to keep me warm. She had another tech get cool cloths to put on my head and neck and stomach (yep, she just shoved one up my shirt). And, they grabbed me a Sprite to sip on.

And as I sat there quite helpless, I was overcome.

If you haven’t figured it out – I don’t like to ask for help. I don’t like to draw attention to my weakness.

Can you say PRIDE?

I was overcome with how foolish it would have been to refuse help from the sweet technicians at the donation center.

I was overcome with how foolish I am when I don’t admit my weakness to the body of Christ, inviting them to help me.

I was overcome with how foolish I am when I don’t admit my weakness to God – who already knows – and trust Him to be my strength.

I was overcome with my SIN!

I wondered how many times have I refused help – both physical and spiritual – because of pride. How many times have I tried to hide my weakness?

More than I even realize.

Weakness

It seems that there are two ways we tend to respond to weakness if left to ourselves.

We try to hide it or

we wallow helplessly in it.

Both of these responses put the focus on self.

Both of these responses fail to look to the One who is strength for us.

Both of these responses are sin.

After my attempted blood donation, I was still thinking about these things as I enjoyed my Nutter Butter cookies. (I love them and only get them when I donate blood.)

The Holy Spirit brought to mind the following verses:

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30 ESV)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

And as I am writing this, I read in Hebrews 11 where the author mentions people who were made strong out of weakness – BY FAITH (v 33).

And I am thankful.

I am thankful for my failed blood donation which God used to show me my sin – He is kind in that way.

I am thankful that the Holy Spirit brings to mind the truth of God’s Word as He corrects me.

I am thankful that Christ’s grace is sufficient in my weakness.

And I am thankful for the gift of faith that allows me to take my eyes off self and fix my eyes on Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

favorite things

Favorite things

Just looking at those words brings to mind the line from The Sound of Music

These are a few of my favorite things

Did you just sing that line? If you are like me you did. Seriously, I can’t even type that line without singing it in my head. And, I continue to sing about kittens, brown geese, ponies, apple strudel …

Word of advice – if you have not ever watched The Sound of Music, you really should. At least once. Or maybe once a year. And now I must make a note to self to schedule a sing along viewing of the movie with friends.

After my mind dances through thoughts of that famous movie/musical a second thought about “favorite things” flies into my mind

Oprah Winfrey

Each year around Thanksgiving, Oprah would have a show dedicated to her favorite things for that year. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can check out this for an explanation and lists of her annual favorite things.

But this post is NOT about iconic musicals or people. It is a simple post about some of my favorite things in Kansas City.

I am regularly asked how I like living in Kansas City by both long time friends from Texas and new friends from KC. Answering my Texas friends brings a twinge of guilt as if I am cheating on Texas by enjoying my new city. Then, I had a new friend (who grew up near KC) who said something about Texans not usually “converting,” surprised at my positive view on this place I now call home. Before I go on, let me be clear, I am not turning in my Texan card – just enjoying where God has placed me.

img_1379

With the questions and responses I have received I thought I would share some of my favorite things about Kansas City.

The KC Streetcar

The KC Streetcar is an amazing way to get around the downtown area. And, it is FREE! A bonus is that we have a streetcar stop directly in front of our apartment.

River Market

The River Market is a river front neighborhood that is both vibrant and quaint. It is home to a number of fun restaurants and shops. It is also home to another of my favorite things – the City Market.

City Market

The city market is a wonderful farmers’ market with locally grown produce, hand baked goods, hand made items, beautiful flowers, and other fun things. It is a great place to spend a Saturday morning with friends.

Grand Boulevard of the Americas

Grand Boulevard is a major street in the downtown area. As you walk (or drive) down it you will see flags of countries from North, Central, and South America displayed. By most of the flags is a piece of art which was created by a local student and depicts that specific country. Oh, how I love anything that shows off the nations. I love being reminded that the world is made up of so much more than my country of origin. The reminder on Grand Boulevard is an encouragement to pray for these specific nations as well as the nations of the world.

Local Coffee Shops

I don’t hate large coffee conglomerates, but I absolutely adore local coffee shops, and KC has bunches of them!!! Many of the local shops actually roast their own beans. The ones that don’t usually offer some of the local roasts. Some of my friends have strong opinions about coffee, choosing their favorite local shop. I tend to like them all (or at least all that I have visited.) Each has a unique personality with its own quirks. Many serve tea as well, which I also LOVE! Earl Grey, anyone? It really doesn’t get much better than a warm beverage and a book at one of these spots. Well, sometimes I do my coffee/tea iced, but I really enjoy warm beverages. They make me feel cozy.

A General Love of Local

When I asked my honey something he loves about our new city, this is what he mentioned – there is an overall love of all things local in KC – or maybe it is just the people I hang around. It isn’t contained to coffee shops. The overall vibe in KC is a celebration of what the “locals” have to offer – art, food, beverages. There is even a “Made in KC” store (actually there are multiple locations) that sells a wide variety of items that are locally made.

The list could probably go on. After I publish this, I will think of things I could have included. I mean, this is the home of Hallmark! But what I have seen is the clear idea that you really can and should bloom where you are planted. I have lived in four cities (metroplexes) since college graduation and could come up with a favorite things list for each of them. Prague, Princeton (NJ), and Plano (really the Dallas Metroplex) hold a piece of my heart.

Wherever God places me, I want to be all there. Sure, it makes the leaving all the more difficult. But it makes the staying a thing of beauty.

What are some of the favorite things in your current “hometown?” I would love to know.

 

 

what am i thinking

Today I am going back to school.

As a student.

It has been almost thirty years since I have written an academic paper. Yes, I have edited quite a few in those years – I am a good editor. But the writing?

What am I thinking?

I am taking a class that meets one time a week for three hours.

Will I be able to stay focused for three hours? Will I be able to go three hours without a bathroom break? (Seriously – I drink tons of water!)

What am I thinking?

These concerns have crossed my mind over the past month as I thought about this new adventure. (I am not even going down the path that I could be the oldest person in the room).

But this morning – here is what I am thinking:

How kind of God to give me a husband who is encouraging me to see if this seminary thing is for me. We already have two kids in college, do we really need another person in school? Yet, my honey is cheering me on and will probably join me in much of my reading. He is a precious gift!

How kind of God to move us to Kansas City where He has placed us in a loving church community with lots of seminary students. I could absolutely walk this path “alone,” but God has given me friends with whom I get to walk. Sure they are much younger (like I could be their mom younger). But, they are the friends God has given me in this season, and they are a blessing.

How kind of God to move us to Kansas City where there is a seminary whose vision is “For the Church.” My honey and I are passionate about God’s working in and through the local (and universal) church and love that the heart of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary beats for the church.

How kind of God to work to change my degree back in college. I wrote very briefly about that here. It was in this degree change that God blessed me with a professor who spoke into my heart more that she probably knows. Yes, she taught me much from the content of her classes, but she taught me even more from the content of her heart. She was the only female teacher in the department and encouraged me to be a thinker. It was in that season that I began thinking about the possibility of going to seminary. I am thankful that God placed her in my life and used her for His purposes.

So, even though I do think about paper writing, my attention span, and bathroom breaks, this morning I am thinking about the amazing God who in His kindness has brought me to this place.

He is faithful!

 

 

 

people pleasing problem

Believe it or not, I am a recovering people pleaser. Growing up I was considered a “good kid.” Of course it was not because I was good (see Mark 10:18) but because I spent lots of energy working to please people.

Parents

Teachers

Pretty much everyone

I believe it was in high school (maybe college) that Galatians 1:10 spoke to my heart.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Over the years since then, I have had to remind myself of this truth. A recent example is the desire to write a post about the church body God has given us here in KC. I didn’t at first because I was concerned that people from my TX church would think I was comparing/criticizing our church there. I bowed to that nonsense!

If you don’t wrestle with people pleasing you probably think this sounds crazy.

I imagine some of you know what I am talking about.

What I have come to realize is that by not sharing about the gift of Emmaus I have missed out on proclaiming the goodness of my God, giving Him the glory.

We had an army of friends praying for us to find a church when we moved. Emmaus was an answer to all of those prayers. How could I not share?

So selfish of me!

Ugh!

So – what is it that drew us to Emmaus (other than the super obvious sovereignty of God)? What is it that we love?

The mission statement sums it up:

Emmaus Church exists to see God glorified and churches multiplied by declaring and displaying the gospel.

It is beautifully simple, and I am a pretty simple person – a less is more kind of person.

God glorified – The ultimate goal is to glorify God. We love that this isn’t just stated but very evident in the various aspects of how we “do church.”

Churches multiplied – Emmaus is a church plant with a heart for church planting which is seen in the Pastoral Residency – a “program” of training and equipping men to shepherd and lead to the glory of God. My honey and I have had a heart for this type of ministry for a number of years and were so thankful to find a small church that was investing their time and resources in this very thing. You can read more about the Pastoral Residency here.

The gospel – Emmaus is also a gospel saturated church – the focus is Jesus. Each week one of the pastors will share that Emmaus doesn’t offer anything other than Jesus. There isn’t a production on Sunday but a time of declaring Jesus through song, confession, scripture, and communion. It is refreshingly simple. Did I mention I love simple?

There are a few other things that drew us to Emmaus Church as well.

  • The liturgy – the very specific, gospel saturated order of our Sunday services. Our pastor of teaching and liturgy wrote a 4 part series on the church blog explaining this – it is a good read! The fourth part of that series ends by showing how each part of our Sunday service mirrors the gospel – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration, Consummation. Weekly, I am being reminded of the fullness of the gospel as I participate in the service.
  • The high view of membership – simply, Emmaus takes seriously both the benefit of membership in a local body AND the responsibility of the member to that local body. We participated in a membership weekend, where we learned about Emmaus – who they are, what they believe, and what it means to be a member. We were also interviewed by one of the pastors, and we wrote out our testimony so the other members could get to know us.
  • Multiple teaching pastors/elders – having more than one pastor who is a gifted expositor of scripture is a blessing. Having four pastors who lead the church together in unity is a gift. During our membership weekend, one of our pastors commented on how thankful he is to sit under the leadership of the other pastors. They mutually submit to one another, encourage one another, love one another, and hold each other accountable. We are grateful for this.

One final obvious thing that God used in drawing us to Emmaus Church is THE PEOPLE. I shared a little about the people in a previous post. We have been welcomed warmly into this body of Christ.

There is so much joy in sharing about our new church home.

There is so much joy in sharing about this answer to prayer.

There is so much glory to give to God for His goodness in leading us here.

Do you see the people pleasing problem?

People pleasing is

selfish

joy stealing

glory hogging

As my friend Lynn would say, “let’s just call it sin.” And that is what people pleasing is – sin.

How grateful I am for my Savior who died for me!

How grateful I am for my Savior who opened my eyes to see my need for Him.

How grateful I am for the gift of faith that set me free, and continues to free me every day.

HALLELUJAH!

 

 

 

 

detours

My girl has been visiting us in KCMO, and we are enjoying the adventure of sharing this city with her. It really is a fantastic place!

Last night we ended up having a GNO, because my honey had a fancy work dinner. He sometimes gets to do those kind of things. We decided she needed some good bbq. Our first bbq adventure this trip was a new to us place highly recommended by a native Kansas Citian. It was a failure. So, we had to have a bbq redo at Q39 (they have yummy meats, tasty apple coleslaw, and amazing macaroni and cheese!)

On the drive to the restaurant, we came across some road construction which brought our road down to one lane – one very slow lane – so I took a detour. It ended up being a marvelous detour!

We saw

beautiful homes with creative finishes

an incredible playground

lovely green spaces

We would have missed all of this beauty had we stayed on our originally planned, google maps organized route. We would have missed all of this had we not taken a chance on this less traveled road.

This made me think of the times I have had a path planned in life that God decided to detour.

pre-med to religion major

overseas to staying in the states

living in a Dallas suburb to living in downtown KC

Each of these detours has brought significant beauty to my life and relationship with God and others.

The change in my major opened a door for me to teach middle school Bible at my alma mater at just the time I was looking for a job opportunity. That is a LONG story on its own, but evidence of God’s kindness and sovereignty. My change of degree plan in 1987, at the end of my sophomore year in college, was clear preparation for a job that would present itself 16 years later. 16 years! That is a detour! A God sized detour!

After college I spent time overseas. Upon my return I began making plans to return overseas after some ministry training in the states. God brought an incredible man into my world, detouring those plans. This fall will mark 25 years of ministering alongside that man. Twenty-five years of serving God in each place he has dropped us. Twenty-five years! What a beautiful detour God has given me.

(It would be very remiss of me not to mention the two blessings that joined us during those 25 years – they are pretty cool!)

We lived in the same house for 21 years, raised both of our children there, and planned to be there at least until Doug retires. God moved us to KCMO where He has given us more than we could have asked for. It is still early in this detour, but I already see so much beauty. God is opening doors for community, ministry, and spiritual growth in a most wonderful way – in a way only a God detour can do.

As I share examples of detours in my life I wonder

How many times have I missed beauty because I just had to stick to the planned route?

How many times have I missed relationship because I was stuck to my plans?

How many times have I missed sweetness with God because I avoided a detour?

I also wonder

How many times have I seen a God detour as

a barrier

an inconvenience

a frustration

rather than as

a gift

an opportunity

a joy

What are some detours God has taken you on?

Are you experiencing the frustration of a detour today?

Join me in trusting and thanking God today – He knows the path of this detour.

Join me in delighting in His purposes.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand – Proverbs 19:21

that is cool

“I really know some pretty cool people.”

This thought crossed my mind recently when I was at a women’s conference in Indianapolis. (I realize that “cool” isn’t a very “cool” word to use these days, but I am pretty sure nobody is accusing me of being “cool” anyway.)

I was walking through the rather large bookstore set up in the exhibit hall and saw this book and thought, “I know her!”

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And, you should too! You can follow Kristen on her blog. She has written a couple of books and has a new small group bible study on Exodus coming out on the 23rd of this month. She is an amazing child of the King who is allowing God to use her for His glory. That is cool!

Another friend of mine recently published an e-book, For Right Now: Jason’s Story About Foster Care. Erin has a degree in Social Work and has a beautiful heart for foster children and families impacted by foster care. I would recommend this book to anyone who is involved with the foster “system” (and even those who aren’t who desire to have a better understanding.) Erin was one of “my” youth in Sunday school who has become a friend. She is being used by God to make a difference for Him in many lives. That is cool!

Thinking of these two friends who are a bit more public in their cool factor, I was reminded of some of my friends who are faithfully and obediently living in the power of the Holy Spirit right where God has placed them.

I have a friend who is finishing her undergraduate degree after years in the work force. God is using her to love and mentor young women who cross her path on the college campus. That is cool!

I have a friend who regularly speaks words of life into my heart and into the friends God has placed in her world. That is cool!

I have a friend who is a cancer survivor, continuing to feel the impact of chemo on her body, who is regularly taking care of others around her in God’s strength. That is cool!

And then there are these friends who are daily walking by faith:

  • the exhausted mom of two “littles”
  • the woman who would love to be a mom, yet God has said, “no”
  • the woman who would love to be a mom, yet God has said, “not yet”
  • the single friend who would love to be married
  • the young woman who is pouring into the refugee community where she lives
  • the teacher who is daily praying for and loving her students

To each of these friends trusting God in their circumstances I can enthusiastically say, “That is cool!”

As I sit here processing how blessed I am to have each of these people in my life, I am reminded that it is really my God who is the cool One, the amazing One, the awesome One. I love how He gifts His children for His work in His world. I love how He reminds me of His character through the lives of each of these women.

I love how His gospel is being proclaimed throughout the world in both big, public ways and simple, daily ways.

THAT IS COOL!

My prayer today for each of  my friends and for you who read this is:

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)