Love Extraordinaire

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This is my confession today:
My love fails and isn’t strong enough.
It is easily frustrated and wants to give up.
My love has limitations and sets conditions.
My love doesn’t take kindly to disobedience and unmet expectations.
My love runs out when I’m tired and have had enough.
It can shut down after it is rejected.
My love wants recognition and at least a “thank you” at times.

It’s not easy to love people who don’t love you back or better yet are just plain not interested in you.

How do you reach out and love those who turn their backs on you and walk away?

I thought I knew how to love.
But those people all loved me back and were not upsetting the pattern of my life.

How do you extend love to those who don’t heed or listen. You pour and pour into them feeling more frustrated with each act of kindness that is given away.

I can’t love extraordinaire!!

The definition of extraordinaire is someone who is out-of-the-ordinary and extremely skilled in a particular field.

How do I become a love extraordinaire?

Warning
****This is not about loving people in unhealthy relationships and being abused or walked on by them. That requires boundaries to be set and proper evaluation.

This is about loving like Jesus loves us!

Plain and simple!!
It CAN NOT be done on your own without help from Him!!

This is about me loving those who are hard to love and not expecting anything in return!

We all know, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”.
Phil 4:13

But do we ask Him to help us when we get to the “I can’t” of our conversation?

I do want to be someone who is out-of-the-ordinary and extremely skilled in the particular field of loving others.

As I work through this concept God reminds me that He loves me even when I mess up. He loves me even when I am turning my back on Him.
He loves me even when I go the total opposite direction I said I would go.
He still loves me when I don’t say thank you.

He goes in deeper and reveals to me.
He gave His Son to die on the cross so that I can have relationship with Him.
I can have these conversations, ask the questions, and stumble my way to Him. His Holy Spirit leads me as I surrender and seek answers to my questions.
This is what love really looks like!!
It’s not about me and what I can gain or feel at the time.
It’s about laying your life down for others so they can live.
Isn’t that what Jesus did for us?
John 15:13
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

So I can do this love extraordinaire thing!! I can go exceedingly above what I am capable of with God’s help and become skilled in this particular field.

1 Corinthians 13

The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies.

Kelley Allison
Love Extraordinaire ❤️

The “S” Word

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Submit-to yield oneself to the power or authority of another.

I was not a submissive wife. I basically wore the pants. It was not that my husband chose or even allowed for me to wear the pants in our family when we got married; it was more that I was such a control freak that I grabbed them from him before he ever had a chance to put them on! My husband was painfully shy when we first met, I loved that about him. I however, had outgrown my shyness and had become accustomed to being in control and independent for several years before I married him when I was 26 years old. I liked things done my way and so I took over control of everything. Many times over the years I would force my control with anger, pouting, and rage. I could out scream and out last him so basically I forced his release of everything over to me. Sadly as I took over all the power I also dismissed all his authority. That is a huge mistake we women make. We want our husbands to be the leader and heads of our households, but we don’t like to release control. We complain that they aren’t leading the way we want but we have not allowed them to lead. It creates chaos and tension. I know I was not an easy person to get along with. It was my way or the highway. My shy husband allowed me to rage on for a few years, but then as we both decided to really live our lives by a Biblical Worldview, and start obeying God’s word, I knew I had to stop dishonoring him. When we really began to live by what the Bible says, our household took on a great shift.
My husband started taking back his rightful head position. He did not do it in a mean way or in a big blow up kind of way. No, it was more little by little he would begin to disagree with me and started to tell me exactly why I was wrong or how to look at something from his perspective. He would not let me pout or rage or get angry anymore. He would stop me in my tracks and tell me I was wrong. At first I can tell you I did not like it at all! As God continued to work on both of us in all the areas we needed a little polishing, the area I resisted most, well you guessed it, was “Submitting.”
Two years ago I stopped working outside the home again. I had been feeling the Holy Spirit working with me on being more loving and fully submissive to my husband. I always cringed at those scriptures on submitting, but now I desired to learn to submit fully to my husband. I asked God to show me simple ways to start doing that. The first thing I felt the Lord ask me to do was to make his lunch every day. That was a way to serve him and honor him. Next the Lord started to have me communicate or ask him permission before I made purchases, or wanted to do something with my girlfriends. I even started to consult him on how to parent our twins and how to handle other various aspects of running our household. I also stopped screaming and arguing. I am sure he was in shock when I started doing this. I know he must sit back some days thinking Wow God; You really are in the miracle business!
God continues to do a great work in the both of us. It was not that my husband wanted to change things to upset me, and he never abuses his power or authority over me, he just needed to take his rightful place as the head of our home and be convinced that I believed he was in authority of me and that I honored him. God designed the family structure really rather simple and basic as stated in the bible. Once I started to see these verses on submitting not as a cringe but as a confirmation that when I heed the word of God on this subject, then our household is functioning the way God designed. It runs much smoother and is filled with more peace. The Holy Spirit is in our home and our marriage because we are learning to submit and respect each other by submitting first to God and His word.
Do I always get it right? Nope, I don’t even come close sometimes. We will all fall short and that is when I so appreciate Grace! My husband and God recognize that I am trying to be obedient to this whole submission thing and that I have made huge strides in that area. It takes time, but I keep on submitting and loving and asking and honoring and making one sandwich at a time. ~XXOO Michelle Bollom

Instructions for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.
Colossians 3:18-20New Living Translation (NLT)

Wives, place yourselves under your husbands’ authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord’s authority.[a]23 The husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. It is his body, and he is its Savior. 24 As the church is under Christ’s authority, so wives are under their husbands’ authority in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. 26 He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water along with spoken words. 27 Then he could present it to himself as a glorious church, without any kind of stain or wrinkle—holy and without faults.
Ephesians 5:22-27 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Breathe

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The water is rippling
As the storm blows in,
And I recognize the
Sound of pain impending.
Without remorse,
Rain pelts from the sky,
And the sting against my flesh
Is not one to be ignored.
I long for immunity as once
Again I stumble.
Tumble.
Into the raging sea.
No air.
No light.
No longer a fight.
Silence.
Then – a flash of lightning,
A roll of thunder.
In weightless effort, I rise
From the abyss and
Begin to
Run
To the One.
I remember Whose I am, and
I fall to my knees.
My refuge.
My strength.
My God.

~ S. Gable 2014

Great Are You

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You give life, You are love
You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To You only
Great are You, Lord
All the earth will shout
Your praise
Our hearts will cry
These bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

I played this song for myself early one morning before getting my home prepared for prayer time that I’d be having with friends later. That morning I felt convicted of treating my husband lovingly only when he does what I want him to do. I felt the words conditional love rise up in me. Greet me happily in the morning, take out the trash, put your stuff away before my friends come over, help me with the kids; all these requests before he can even brush his teeth in the morning because I’ve already been up for two hours.

Well, God reminded me of a few powerful words from this song a couple of hours later as I was praying for one of my sweet friends. “Great are you Lord.” Really, You are great. We can ask You for what we need. You will supply…in abundance. I want to pour out praise to You because You’ve already given and done so much for me. I also thought of ‘great is thy faithfulness,’ as I felt prompted to tell my friend to remember God’s faithfulness as she struggles to let her daughter make her own choices. Remembering His faithfulness helps us relinquish control. We can trust Him.

My friends and I spent a couple of hours sharing and praying that day in a new family room in my home that my husband spent quite some time pondering the design, the style, paint and furniture. All of those things that I don’t have too much interest in. He made it all happen. I was very thankful for that space to have friends over and pray.
Later that night, I played the song again. Whoa. For real. Great are You Lord. Great are You, that You showed up in that room my husband pretty much designed just for our enjoyment and comfort that day. Great are You that You met some major needs that day just during our prayer time. Great are You Lord, that You granted my friend even more boldness that very day and she led a friend to Christ! We will pour out our praise, our hearts will cry and our bones will sing, Great are You Lord.

Great are You Lord that You show up in big ways amongst a handful of housewives seeking a touch from You, desiring to be filled up with Your greatness, Your breath in our lungs.
~Stephanie Wanic

On your feet now—applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into His presence.
Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD. He made us; we didn’t make Him. We’re His people, His well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank Him. Worship Him. For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. – Psalm‬ ‭100‬:‭1-5‬ MSG

Great Are You Lord by Sons & Daughters

Rescue

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Who remembers the moment…? You know, the moment BEFORE…the split-second before the doctor spoke the diagnosis and your world crumbled; before the divorce was announced, yours or your parents and it rocked your foundation; before the death of a loved one caused you to turn away from God in anger and grief; before that sexual sin, yours or someone else’s done to you, robbed you of that full measure of innocence? Before you decided that a particular sin, yours or someone else’s was the unforgiveable?
So the next moment DID happen and you felt betrayed. Betrayed by everything you knew to be good in your life. Betrayed by God himself. So you ran away into the wilderness, alone. You stepped down into a trench of bitterness and you waited…waited in silence, in anger, in grief, in pain…waited for God to notice that you were, in fact, off by yourself and utterly alone…that one lost sheep that everyone has heard about who slipped away from His flock, His hand, His care. Now you wait there in daily trepidation and trembling because the wolves and bears in your life are catching your scent – the scent of defiant anger that tries unsuccessfully to mask the hopelessness of your situation. You want nothing to do with God but deep inside you still think “Where is He? What is taking so long for Him to come find me?”
Praise God! He knit you together in the womb. He knows you backward and forward. He knows everything about you – your favorite things and all the quirks of your personality…and He even knows your hiding places. He knew before the beginning of time that you would need a rescuer…a rescue from someone else’s sin and your own. Even then, He was making a way for your release. Because of Who He is, He determined before you even came into being that you were going to be valuable enough to Him to send His son to come and get you…to be your rescue…to take your place. Beloved child of God: HE MADE A WAY FOR YOU TO COME HOME! As you sit in your trench and contemplate your options, I’d like for you to think about this:
• A plan has already been drafted for you to come home
• The Father is eagerly awaiting your return
• At a high cost to Himself, He has hand-picked the Rescuer who is guaranteed to save you
• He has not only promised restoration for you, but blessings double of that which you had before!

Could it be that as long as you determine to stay hidden, and wrap yourself in your circumstances, you are delaying the rescue…? Are you the reason for making it take so long?

Jesus, our Rescuer, is calling for you to come out from wherever it is that you are hiding right now. Gather your courage, stand up and wave your arms. Cry out to Him. Be saved. Come home. ~Debbie Bouckley

Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1b (AMP)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! -Psalm 139:13, 16-17

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be liberated into God’s freedom and peace. Acts 2:21 (VOICE)

When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:3 (NLT)

For more encouragement, listen here:

Called To Be Prosperous

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My life wasn’t wrapped up so beautifully from the start. Growing up I was a foster child, raised in more foster homes than one could imagine. I suffered tremendous pain stemming from every aspect of abuse; physical, sexual, and emotional the entirety of my childhood. These were many homes with just a kid, ‘just passing through’. Around the age of 16 my biological parents located me and without fear of who theses strangers were, I ran away to live with them having the false pretense, ‘They finally came back! I knew one day my parents would come back! I’m rescued’. Yes, all children want the fairy tale ending with absent parents; naive I was.
Long story short, it was a horrid time 16 years old up until last year (I’m 35 now) with my biological parents. I witnessed drugs, fighting, prostitution, jail visits, and my parents continually high or drunk. Upon crossing into adulthood, all abuse stopped and yet the situations changed to a complete emotional struggle when I was old enough to move out. The emotional toll taken on me as I continually tried to, ‘parent’ my parents, was massive. I knew my parents really had great hearts, they loved me, yet just so lost in addiction they were powerless to express it or be proper role models and care takers.

You can imagine my life would’ve been tough to keep on the straight and narrow, but I did, through the protection of Christ alone. I saw the ramifications of drug use, criminal activity, and abuse, so I chose to never engage in those. In my early 20’s feeling depressed as ever, extremely withdrawn, I felt as I had exhausted all emotions and decided to give this thing called, ‘church’ a ‘try’. Yes, the first visit changed my life forever as I came to salvation that very day. Throughout the years I have been on fire for Christ, entering into ministry teaching on abuse, addiction, abandonment, identity, self-worth, and more than anything, forgiveness. I’ve made myself very transparent as to give God glory for his restoration and turn around (that He alone did in my life) so that I can inspire and reach the hurting and lost. What the enemy meant for harm in my life has been the very testimony of the greatness of our God now leading so many to hope, change, and salvation.

My adulthood has been spent winning souls to Christ through witnessing, teaching, and as many would say, ‘Just keeping it real’. However, an unfortunate tragedy occurred in my life this previous year as I lost both parents to suicide. The emotional turmoil ended as my mom passed and three days later my father, unable to cope with the death of my mom, took his own life. It was the horrid shock alone upon my mom’s passing as that was so difficult to come to grips with. Then the second wave hit three days later, I had lost my father as well to suicide. The single funeral being planned now turned double and it was such a traumatic time. HOWEVER, guess what? There is GOOD news! The enemy never took me out once, didn’t even come close. Why? Because I’m anchored in Christ alone. The only one constant, never changing, expressing endless love, restoration, and comfort, is Jesus Christ as this I had received so many years earlier post salvation. This is yet another tragic circumstance used to glorify Christ as I minister this story to those depressed, addicted, battling suicide, and many other deep emotional issues. The message is clear, “Hold on, rescue is in route!” Allowing myself to become so transparent has proven a massive healing agent for people battling suicide. Hear from the ‘victims’ mouth the pain caused for those left behind to deal with the unnecessary death while also sharing the purpose of God’s plan for our lives has helped and healed so many. Glory to God for allowing me to be His mouthpiece!
With all of this being said, throughout every trial in life, my passion & relationship has only grown stronger in the Lord.

We’re ALL, ‘called to be prosperous’ in EVERY arena of our lives because our Father is the King of ALL Kings and He took sickness, disease, and poverty to the cross! We are called into victory with a race that has already been won! May we never be victims, only victorious, over every trial and circumstance in life. Glory to God!

Be encouraged in Christ today,
Jess Drown

Jessica Drown resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Besides staying proactive for the Kingdom, she is a teen minister, PE teacher, Christian music manager, single mom of two teens, and currently manages a busy corporate office in the city. She loves Jesus, family, friends, and has a passion for ministry, wellness, fitness, and nutrition. Her goal is to help lead the lost and encourage the saved in Jesus Christ!

“Discipleship (via the Gospel) didn’t just put us into the eternal plan of God, but amongst other things, it enables us to live a prosperous life.”

Connect with Jess on all Social Media Sites, see her Website for details.

http://www.jessicadrown.com

Miles to Go: The Story Yet to Be Told

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I was looking in my hall closet when I spotted a book stacked in the corner on the floor. This was the stack of books I was intending to take to Good Will, but had yet to get around to it. I saw the sweet picture of a popular teen on the front cover. It was Miley Cyrus’s autobiography, Miles To Go, and it had belonged to one of my girls. I remember taking the girls to her concerts at the rodeo here in Houston. I confess I actually watched her show sometimes with the girls on Disney.

I only had a little bit of time before the ladies were coming over for our weekly Bible Study. I sat down and started at the end of the book on page 240. Sixteen year old Miley pours out her heart and shares her faith in God. The road she chooses to take that is equipped with a purity ring and the standards she wants to set. She says and I quote, “I want to be a good role model.” on page 242. I skim through the book and see scripture verses scattered all through out the book. She gives examples of how God uses His Word to guide her and her family through their lives. It was obvious that she had a relationship with Jesus and she placed value on Him and was making a difference in this world through her fame and influence.
Her last line in that same chapter reads, “I can do meaningful work-without compromising my values.”

My heart immediately grew heavy with sadness. The enemy had sifted and stolen this beautiful young lady down a dark path of destruction. A “Wrecking Ball” so prolifically describes her years to come. I take notice that the book was only written 5 years ago.
If someone would have showed Miley her Ghost of Christmas Future she would not have even recognized herself and probably would not believe what she would be shown. It’s not her. She wasn’t created to be where she is now. A wrecked soul looking for acceptance from anyone who will give her attention and worth.
What went wrong?

1 Peter 5:8
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Miley is no different than any of us. She was created to make a difference in this world for good. Her real name is Destiny. Her destiny got stolen, stepped on and spit out.

I challenge you to read her book and see what her thoughts and plans were before she started taking little steps that led her into a big step of disaster.
Better yet I challenge you to read God’s plans for all His creation before we chew, chomp and spit all those who make poor choices out.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I was reminded by God today to remember He needs us….His saints to pray and go after in love those that are hurting and turning their backs on Him.

James 5:6
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Love never fails.

Dedicated to:
Miley Smiley and all those who have temporarily stepped out of their true callings and require our prayers for a new story yet to be told.

Light On,
Kelley Allison
John1:4-5

Will You Answer His Call?

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I have been reading the Jesus Calling Devotional by Sarah Young for over a year now and I’m always amazed how each day it seems to speak to me and my specific situations. This week, I decided to make a special place in my bedroom — my prayer corner, where I can sit quietly and truly begin to absorb fully the message of these daily devotions. I find that it’s a great way to begin my quiet time and always leads to prayer and journaling. I have so many things to be grateful for and when I write them down it just seems to remind me how blessed I am and also reveals some new insight that I wasn’t even aware of and helps me to get clarity and understanding.

This message below, dated November 9th, from Jesus Calling seemed to speak to me louder than usual:

“Sit quietly with Me, letting all your fears and worries bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. There, in the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear. However, some fears surface over and over again, especially fear of the future. You tend to project yourself mentally into the next day, week, month, year, decade; and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times. What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn’t include Me. Those gloomy times that you imagine will not come to pass, since My Presence will be with you at all times.
When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, “Jesus will be with me then and there. With His help, I can cope!” Then, come home to the present moment, where you can enjoy Peace in My Presence.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
—Luke 12:22–26

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
—Deuteronomy 31:6

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
—2 Corinthians 10:5

I am always amazed that the message is exactly where I am. How do they know? The Lord is always right and He always amazes me with His perfect timing.

I love this message as it is saying everything I am feeling right now.
As I journaled I wrote:

Lord I give it all to you — specifically my dear son, I’m letting go and releasing him to Your wonderful awesome and totally amazing care. I know he is in the best of hands and You will mold him into the man You created him to be, Lord You knit him together in my womb and know every hair on his head, and I lovingly give him back over to You; I release all the iniquities, all of the condemnation, all of the negative thoughts that I have had in the past, those I currently have and pray that I do not carry them any longer into the future. I will speak positive, strong, life-giving thoughts towards him as I know the plans You have for him are to prosper and not to harm him and to give him hope and a future. Lord I speak Jeremiah 29:11 over him and know that You are in control of the situation completely. I trust You and know that You will love and guide him and impart Your wisdom, grace and compassion to him, in Jesus name. Amen.

As I sit in my prayer corner in my room, I am comforted to know every day, every hour, every minute that Jesus, You are with me. I can sit and talk with You and share all my concerns and worries and leave them in Your loving, capable hands. Lord help me to remember to talk with You continuously and to always consult You first when I have anger, uneasiness, condemnation or just need a friend. Help me learn to turn to You first before opening my mouth and saying anything. Give me the discernment I need and the words to say the right thing. Help me to listen better and talk less. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see the other side of the story. My goal is to show love and compassion to everyone I meet!

I encourage you to find your own special prayer corner and to set aside a time each day and begin to read, pray and journal. It will truly transform your life and deepen your walk.

-In Christ & Love
Deb Hicks

A Beautiful Mess

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Well, I’m convinced that the first Christmas wasn’t a quiet night. Let’s review…

Luke 2:4-7 NIV
The Birth of Jesus

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

I’m bracing myself for Christmas. I know I should be telling you all about how to have a calm and peaceful Christmas Eve when kids read themselves stories and tuck themselves into bed. When shopping has been done for weeks and you have time to rest by the wood fire sipping tea and having a conversation with your hubby.

Every year I’m blessed with Christmas amnesia. I only remember the good and forget the weird, grumpy, or just plain crazy stuff that goes on in my house. Remember, just because we love Jesus and are saved doesn’t mean we are perfect or that will have the perfect Christmas. It just means that we are continually under construction.

So we seek H I M.

Just like the wisemen, we still seek Him.

We especially seek Him at Christmas time. God’s Word says He will never leave us or forsake us, so why the need to seek Him? Isn’t He already there?
Beloved, there is a place inside each one of us longing to be filled. It’s the perfect place for Jesus. Without Him we seek to fill the void with semi positive and negative behaviors. Helicopter parenting, excessive worry, additions and idols, we will seek to fill a place meant for only Jesus to occupy. Other things just don’t fit and leave us feeling empty and still searching.

At Christmastime we are seeking to have a deeper more fulfilling relationship with Him. This Christmas go deeper. Seek to know Him more and know who you are in Him. On Christmas morning my family wakes up. We sing happy birthday to Jesus. We light the Christmas candle on the advent wreath and we read the kid version of the Christmas story. That’s the important part of the celebration for me. Then chaos happens. It’s a blurred frenzy of family, friends,gifts, food and way too much screen time and garbage. My Christmas is very messy. It’s filled with Jesus, love, joy, peace and there are also tears (he just opened that …he’s not sharing …you’re not my best brother anymore…wrapping paper flying …odd comments and just a whole lotta weird.) No wonder I have Christmas amnesia each year!

It’s a beautiful mess, our beautiful mess, and I don’t mind; I know my identity in Jesus. He’s the greatest gift to me.
And the greatest gift we can give is sharing with our friends and loved ones who they are in Christ.
~Marina Wright

Never Throw Out Anyone

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I have to be honest, even though I love and believe this quote; I don’t always practice it. I want to love like Jesus. I want to not be offended. I don’t want to hold grudges, but sometimes it just seems easier to “throw out the baby with the bath water.”

Some people are hard to love and I know I am too at times.

I tend to build walls instead of setting proper boundaries. I know we need to set boundaries with people to protect ourselves sometimes, but too often we let offenses come in and take over and that boundary is too hard or we just don’t want to deal with it. Our nasty pride puffs up and we instead have erected a great big wall that keeps people out and cuts people off. I can be too quick to drop them like it’s hot. I am just a little too good sometimes at the ole Gift of Goodbye. Boundaries are meant to be moveable and adjustable and help us grow. Walls once built with offenses, hurt, bitterness and unforgiveness are much harder to tear down. Walls sadly prevent the good from coming in too and the bad from ever exiting. All the hurts get trapped and then we too are trapped and held hostage by the walls we put up to keep those hard to love people that have rubbed us the wrong way at bay. No one wins this way.

When I saw this quote again I started to look at all the “R” words Hepburn used -it is sort of eye opening.

She said people are to be:

Restored-return to its original condition, place, or position. Bring back; reinstate

Renewed-resume after an interruption. Re-establish a relationship.

Revived-restore to life. Regain life, consciousness, or strength. Give new strength or energy to.

Reclaimed-retrieve or recover something that was lost, given, or paid; obtain the return of. Bring under cultivation.

Redeemed-compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something. Gain or regain possession of.

Wow! Christ is the great restorer, renewer,reviver, reclaimer, and redeemer, and if He can do all that for me, I can surely let Him work through me to help me extend all that to others.

So let’s be mindful we are all on a journey. We are all hoping to look much better in the future than we look right now. God doesn’t play favorites, He loves us all. Let’s practice extending the “R” words to others instead of erecting those walls. Don’t throw out anyone! ( no matter how dirty that bath water is) ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom