The number of my days

Each year, as my birthday rolls around, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have had another year of life. To celebrate my birthday is to celebrate the One who gives me life and each new day. Am I always joyful? Of course not! Each year has its trials, challenges, and joys. Each year is a journey to become more like Christ. Though I may wander off the path–more often than I’d like to admit–His grace is a beacon that leads me back.

My prayer for this year to is to make each moment count and to live for the Lord, regardless of my circumstances.

““ LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/psa.39.4-6.nlt

Living in Chair 2

(This post is inspired by a sermon from my church, which was based off the book Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs by Bruce Wilkerson).

I’m a “Chair 2” Christian, though I don’t say that with any pride, but rather sober admission. As a “Chair 2” Christian, my life is full of compromise, inner turmoil, and constant failings.

Like the church in Revelations 3:15-16, I am “lukewarm” in my faith and don’t have the courage or conviction to stand up when I should; I remain seated in my chair. I depend more on my job than Jesus and go with the status quo in fear of not being able to help provide for my family. I feel that the compromises I have made leave me in turmoil almost constantly, as the inner battle plays out daily in my mind.

I am too busy, distracted, or just plain tired, so my prayer life is truly non-existent. There are the quick “help!” prayers and occasionally I do pray for others, but there is no true connection to God and though I’m sure he hears me, I only get silence in return.

My Chair 2 life is reflected back to me in my kid’s faith. They have both accepted Christ, but how will they fare during the college years and into adulthood? I don’t see them read their Bibles or pray, but then they don’t see that from me, so what should I expect? As with so many other parts of their upbringing, I just continue to feel like a failure and can only hope for the best as we stumble through the teenage years.

I wear so many layers of masks daily that the weight of them leaves me exhausted, but I put them on each day to protect myself and without them I couldn’t survive. Sometimes, like in this post, I’ll lift up a corner to give others a peek, but everything goes back into place just as quickly. There are times I’m not sure who the real me might be, so I just plod along a worn out path my “wheels” to stuck in the ruts they’ve made to do anything else.

I live in Chair 2 and the fears that keep me there will always remain.

Chair 2

Thoughts on Leadership

I recently attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), for the second time, and I was amazed again by the speakers and how much of what they spoke about I needed to hear.

I wanted to share some of my take-aways from the various speakers I heard this year. Some of the quotes are not exact; I’m not a good note taker, but hopefully they are close enough that they get the points across. If any of this resonates with you readers, I recommend attending the Summit next year, downloading the GLSNext app (available for iOS and Android), and checking out some of the resources from the speakers.

Bill Hybels:

Leadership matters.

Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.

Jim Collins:

Questions are better than answers.

How will you change the lives of others?

Ed Catmull:

Creativity is about solving problems.

Stories are going to change the world. It’s how we communicate with each other.

Adam Grant:

Givers may appear to fail in the short run, but they are most successful in the long run.

Givers are learning and building relationships.

Dr. Brené Brown:

We’re emotional people who sometimes think.

Our worthiness lives inside the stories. When you own the story, you get to write the ending.

Sallie Krawcheck:

Diverse teams outperform super smart teams.

Diversity is hard; we all have our biases.

Albert Tate:

Don’t leave it all on the field, you’ll go home with nothing.

Leave room for dumb ideas.

Dumb ideas + God’s hand = life transformation

Get out of the way! It gives you the ability to discover the awe and wonder of God’s hand.

Horst Schulze:

Caring is what service means.

Individualizing care moves customers from satisfaction to loyalty.

Sheila Heen:

When leaders become better receivers [of feedback]:

  1. They get better feedback.
  2. They become a role model of what they value and respect.
  3. Automatically become a better giver of feedback.

The interview with Brian Houston was a reminder of how important music is to me. More about this in an upcoming post.

Life is a journey, a winding path filled with many unknowns. It’s only possible to navigate because of God’s power and grace. –Brian Houston, Live Love Lead

Sam Adeyemi:

You will not find the definition of success until you help others succeed.

The object of leadership for most leaders is their own success; the object of Christ’s leadership was the success of his followers.

The Jesus kind of leadership says, “If I can do it, you can do it too!”

Following you should hold the promise of life change for those who follow you.

Liz Wiseman:

It’s not what you know, it’s how fast you learn.

Once we have knowledge, we make assumptions; sometimes bad assumptions.

Craig Groeschel:

Your brain does not comprehend what your body is capable of.

There is more inside of you than you can imagine or dream possible.

I hope these quotes inspire you to greater leadership in all areas of your lives.

My wish for Mother’s Day

  
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. My wish for this Mother’s Day is that all mothers know how special they are, no matter their circumstances.

There are so many types of moms out there. Working moms, home school moms, dance moms, and soccer moms. There are the perfectionist moms with spotless houses and the moms who have messed up and live behind bars. There are mothers to be and there are mothers who want to be. There are foster moms, adoptive moms and No matter what kind of mom you may be, you are special because you are a mom.

Children may sometimes declare that they hate their mothers, but even if children are mad right now they will, in time, come to appreciate all that their mothers have done or sacrificed for them.

Mothers are special because they always love their children, even when their children aren’t always lovable, in the same way that God loves us, even in our sin.

Perfect Love for a Broken World

Easter is always a time to reflect upon love. For it was a perfect love that compelled one who lived a perfect life to be sacrificed for all of us to inherit eternal life.

This is a broken and cursed world and we are all sinners. Even so, Christ Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us. He didn’t wait for us to come to Him or to get our act together. He takes us all as we are and, through His love, we are changed and renewed.

As I reflect upon everything that goes on in this broken world, I am thankful for the perfect love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Cross on Stage

Longing for Silence

I am deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is. -Lamentations 3:17

Right now life is always busy. Keeping track of the families activities, appointments, and commitments leaves me running all the time. I long for moments of silence; moments where I’m free to think about random things, no things, or God things.

I latch onto the rare moments of silence like a hungry babe. My mind cherishes the silence as it sorts out all the flotsam contained in its darkest recesses. The silence is where my prayers find their way to the surface and flow freely towards God.

Let a person sit alone in silence, when the Lord is disciplining him. -Lamentations 3:28

It’s in the silence that I can begin to appreciate the noise of my life. The noise that reminds me I’m alive and I have people in my life whom I love and who love me (on most days).

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. -John 14:27

It’s in the silence that my spirit is recharged and I feel some level of control over the noise. I can contemplate life’s events and discern if I’m following on the path God has set for me.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.” -John 16:33

Though I will always have to live in the noise, I will always long for the silence.

Now may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen. -Romans 15:33

(All verses from the New English Translation)

Random Ornaments

I find it ironic that I’m posting about Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving day (ok, ok, I didn’t actually get this up until Friday). As I watched my daughter decorate our tree yesterday, I kept thinking about the displays you see in stores or at homes fit for magazines. The ornaments all match a specific theme and are neatly placed on the tree. Our tree, however, is filled with random ornaments.
Some ornaments were purchased, some gifts, others are collectibles from past years. A few are from nicer stores, some from dollar stores, and then there’s the hand-made ones from the kids. They all make up a tree that can tell a story about our lives and our family.
I was thinking about how all those random ornaments mirror real life. We are all from different backgrounds and yet we can still come together to make something beautiful. I think about how Jesus called people from random backgrounds into His ministry to redeem the world. How tax collectors, fishermen, and other sinners helped to lead the way for the rest of us. I’m thankful for the random people God chose to speak into my life and show my His way.

Some of my random ornaments:

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