What’s Your Passion?

Recently my husband was picking up our 10 year old son from school.  As he arrived, he overheard an exchange between my son and one of his classmates, a spunky young lady.  She asked Elijah what he was going to do when he got home.  His answer was “Play video games”.  She scrunched up her face and looked intently at him and said, “But, what is your passion?  You should spend your time on what you are passionate about?”  I can certainly imagine the look on my young man’s face as he said “Huh?”.  So she proceeded to clarify, “What do you enjoy doing? What brings you to life? What can you just not live without?” According my husband Elijah shrugged his shoulders and said, “Video Games” and walked away.

Elijah and his friend from school pictured a few years ago!!

While the complexity and significance of this question was lost on my 10 year old son, the truth is it is an excellent question, one we should all be asking ourselves.  So often it is easy to get caught up in a rut, doing the same thing day after day.  We find ourselves simply living to meet the demands of everyone else around us.  We live to please our parents, our kids, our bosses, or civic and church leaders.  Our lives become consumed with other people’s priorities.  We do what we have to do rather than what we want to do.  Our lives become a little like ground hog day, the same day after day.

Welcome to adulthood!!  In the midst of  the daily grind, we get bored, we begin to feel dead on the inside, we grow weary, we get depressed because life has not turned out like we expected.  We want passion back in our lives.  We want to be like this young lady– oozing with excitement, wonder and DELIGHT!! JOY!!! PASSION!!!!

The problem is we go looking for it in all of the wrong places and our lives can become a train wreck if we are not careful. We wrongly believe that a new job, a new relationship, a new house–really anything new and shiny will unlock the mystery of our hearts and open the floodgates for passion to be unleashed. I’m not saying new things are bad, but the feeling we get from new won’t last–it’s a quick fix, fleeting and temporary.

As I seek to ask myself the question, What is my passion?  I’m realizing an important truth.  Passion is a Person.  Jesus is the one who brings me to life because He is my life.  My life is a journey where I am learning who He is and He is revealing who I am in Him. I am made in His image.  My life flows freely from Him and He alone makes my life dance.  He has the key to unlock the fullness of my life.   

In our quest for passion, we try to re-brand our life, but Jesus wants to renew our hearts.

He is calling us to truth, faithfulness, obedience, humility, love, sacrifice, compassion, kindness in our PRESENT circumstances.  He is calling us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

Here’s some pics of my video-game loving son who was recently baptized by his dad. PASSION!!

elijah and david

elijah

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When God plans your playlist….

Yesterday morning I dropped my husband off at the Downline Summit so I could have the car for a day of  taxi driving our boys to and from basketball.  Little did I know what God had planned for me as I drove through Shelby Farms in the beauty of an early morning Saturday.

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It was a rare moment of me being in the car alone listening to what I wanted to listen to on the radio and I chose K-LOVE.   I can’t even really explain to you what happened in that moment except to say God designed a perfect playlist just for me as song after song led me to an incredibly sweet time of worship.  By the end I was simply laughing out loud at God’s message and truth.  All of the songs except the first song were brand new to me, but the lyrics deeply impacted me.

At this moment in my life I am faced with many questions, concerns, disappointments, fears and uncertainty.  Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you are waiting on a diagnosis or are battling illness. Maybe you are unsure what God wants you to do next.  Maybe you feel empty on the inside. Maybe you need to stand for the truth.  Maybe you need to go out of your way to show kindness to someone who has been unkind to you.  Maybe you are disappointed with how your life has turned out.  Maybe you are a little mad at God.

I don’t know where you are at today, but God knows.  God cares.  God loves you more than you can possibly know today. Would you do me a favor?  Carve out some time and go through these songs.  Maybe God has something He wants to say to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-is0d7TNxEhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd4qtmDGIWQ

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Desperate for Changing. Starving for Truth.

Good gravy, God’s got the smack down going on me lately.  Last week He called a “Come to Jesus Meeting” late at night.  This weekend I planned a short getaway thinking I would do some planning for the year and get all of my little ducks in a row.  I love to sitting down at the beginning of a new year with a pen and paper and dreaming about the coming year.

I got away for the busyness of my life and I sat down with a pen and paper waiting for all manner of grand and glorious plans to pour from my mind to paper, but instead was led to Revelation 2.  Basically God said to me, “Hey, I know what you’re doing.  You are working hard.  You are enduring and bearing up for my name sake.  You haven’t grown weary.  But–it’s seems like you’ve walked away from your first love? What’s going on with you?”

Holy smack down!! I don’t know about you, but it pretty much stinks when someone says they don’t feel like you love them, much less the God of the universe who loves with an everlasting love.

So I sat, stunned and reeling from the harsh truth when the following song comes on Pandora.  God solidified His message with music to cement the moment in my mind and propel me forward in love. Isn’t that amazing?  He loves me so much He gave me a film score for my time with Him.

My plans for 2015?  No clue, but I do know I’ll be hanging out with Jesus and asking Him to help me fall more in love with Him.

This week, I’ve been captivated by glorious sunsets here in my hometown. God is using the beauty to draw me to Him and show me His love. Each day God paints beautiful sunrises and sunsets for us to enjoy.  Maybe you’re a little like me and you’ve lost that loving feeling.  Join me in chasing sunrises and sunsets and marveling at a creator who shows Himself daily.

This beautiful sunset photo was taken by a friend of mine, John Hill.  John lost his battle with cancer recently.  The sun has set on his time on earth, but I believe he is gazing at far more beauty than he was ever able to capture through his lens.

Photo taken by John Hill, Sonlite Photography

Photo taken by John Hill, Sonlite Photography

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How’s Your Love Life?

love light writing

Photo by Lana Robison

When I was a freshman in college, I went to a summer bible camp with a friend of mine.  Back then I was a tad bit boy crazy and I’m pretty sure all of my life was filtered through the lens of checking out the boys. Yes, even while at bible camp.

The Director of the camp was a jovial older gentleman.  His favorite question to ask was “How’s your love life?” He was a matchmaker at heart and I can still picture him sitting outside the dining hall with a twinkle in his eye asking me about my love life.

Two things happened during camp that week.  First, there was a gorgeous, blonde-haired, young man with crystal clear blue eyes who I noticed immediately.  God did a mighty fine job when he created this young man.

Now I knew there was absolutely no way Handsome Camp Boy would notice me or be interested in me, but a girl can dream and drool, right? After a couple of days of camp we were playing a group game where everyone was all bunched up in close quarters.  In the midst of the game this dreamy fella ended up smacking me right in the head with his extremely muscular arm and I landed squarely on my booty on the floor.  Guess what? He noticed me and my two black eyes which came up immediately.  The rest of the week he was incredibly attentive and I loved all of the attention. A perfect camp relationship was born.

Then, an even crazier thing happened.  I fell in love with someone else.

Handsome Camp boy caught my eye, but this person captured my heart.  I don’t even remember the words He said, but His love began to fill the holes in my heart.  His love enveloped me like a warm embrace on a cold night.  That week I fell head over heels in love with Jesus.

Who knows what happened to Handsome Camp boy?  But me and Jesus, we’ve been tight for 28 years.  His steadfast love has NEVER failed. There have been many times I’ve failed Him, but day after day, month after month and year after year, God has loved me with an everlasting love. There have been many times I’ve doubted His love, but He always shows up to display the depth of His love. There have been many times my eyes have wandered, but He always draws me back to Him.

Looking back I can see the question  the Camp Director asked was a really important question and one I should ask myself daily, “How’s your love life?”  It’s so easy for my love for Jesus to grow cold which leads to all manner of messes in my life.

What about you?

How’s your love life?

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My One Word Resolution for 2014 was hijacked!!

Sometimes things turn out differently than you plan.

Does that ever happen to you?

For the past several years the month of January means deciding on a ONE WORD for the year.  It’s been a great way to focus and be intentional without setting myself up for failure. Many people set New Year’s resolutions and that is awesome.  But, for me I find that I only follow through on a resolution for about two weeks.  Also, I have a tendency to go overboard and my resolutions end up being about as long as War and Peace. The bottom line is resolutions don’t work so well for me.

Last year in January I wrote “This year the word that has captured my attention is GIVE.  I’m anxious to see how this word will be lived out in the pages of my life over the next year.” (2014 One Word Resolution – GIVE)

Whew — as I sit here and reflect on the past year, the pages of my life are dripping with the word GIVE.  But the story written in the ink of my life last year is so incredibly different than the story I had in my mind when I began the year. Are you ready for me to be gut-level honest with you? Most of the time in my life and in my mind… I am the main character.  It’s all about me.  The world revolves around me. Maybe it’s the result of being an only child.  Or, maybe it’s just a result of the curse.

Because of my egocentricity, when I chose the word GIVE for 2014, my fantasyland imaginings included the beautiful princess (ME) heroically giving to others and feeling awfully good about herself. (Yucky truth!!)

Reality check…it turns out I am NOT the main character.  GOD IS THE HERO!!  God is the main character.

My plan < His plan!!

As it pertains to the word GIVE, God (the main character) used this past year to teach me every good and perfect gift is from Him.  He is the one who GIVES us gifts.  He wants us to use those gifts to share Him with other people. “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them” Romans 12:6 My memories of 2014 are filled with story after story of people using the gifts God has given them to do His work–gifts of kindness, compassion, mercy, love, justice.  I’ve seen people GIVE $$ and GIVE possessions. I’ve seen people GIVE time.  I’ve seen people GIVE their talents and creativity to spread beauty.  I’ve seen people GIVE grace and forgiveness..

When we GIVE we display the glory of God and turn the attention back to the true Hero.

I’m quite grateful things turn out differently than I planned in 2014.  God GAVE me a fresh perspective. God GAVE my family exactly what we needed each and every day.  God GAVE me a deeper appreciation for my people–amazing family and friends who astound me on a regular basis.  Seriously these amazing people display the glory of God like CRAZY!!

In case you are wondering….it’s almost the middle of January and I have absolutely NO CLUE what my one word resolution will be for 2015.

Thankful God GIVES direction…He’s the only one who knows what’s ahead.

DSC_1439

Photo by Elizabeth Hill

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“Come to Jesus” Meeting

Last night I could NOT fall asleep.  Normally I’m out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow at 9:00 pm (don’t judge…I get up early).  So why the insomnia last night?  The night owls in my home kept me up over the Christmas holidays and like a little baby my schedule is off.  Those same crazy night owls ran some errands earlier in the evening and while they were out I might have snuck in a short nap (not a good idea).  My amazing husband brought me a surprise, a White Chocolate Mocha, which I slurped down like I hadn’t seen coffee for months (definitely NOT a good idea). Plus, my mind was whirling with thoughts, ideas, plans and worries.

Do you ever find yourself WIDE AWAKE late at night?  Normally I would watch TV or get on my computer, or organize something.

Last night was a little different.  In that quiet moment Jesus tapped me on the shoulder (figuratively, not literally) and said “Hey, I have some things to talk to you about.”  It was kind of like when I need to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with my kids and I tap them on the shoulder and say, “Hey, come into my room, I have some things to talk to you about.”  My kids hate it and their dread is evident by all color draining from their face.  “Come to Jesus” meetings with my kids are typically hard, but always stem from my love for them.

“Come to Jesus” meetings are the WORST!!

My “Come to Jesus” meeting with Jesus was pretty hard.  He spoke some tough words to me.  Yet, he poured His love into my heart. His words were soothing to my soul.  He reminded me of His grace and peace.  He reminded me of important things he wants me to do. He reminded me to rejoice in him, the hope of glory.  He also reminded me to rejoice in suffering because suffering produces endurance, character  and hope.

Here’s the cool part of the night–this is where it gets AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, STUPENDOUS!!

After a while I began to feel sleepy and decided it was time to go to bed.  In my mind the meeting was adjourned.  At this point it’s about 12:45 am.  Everyone in my house has been asleep for several hours.  Just as I’m standing up to go to bed, I hear my oldest son singing loudly from his room upstairs, (confession — at first this scared the living daylights out of me)

He was singing…

Christ Alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

Noah sang these lyrics three times, loudly and then he was quiet.

WHAT IN THE WORLD???? So, Jesus taps me on the shoulder and says I have some things to say. Then, in the middle of the night, he SINGS over me through the beautiful, albeit majorly off key, voice of my son.

“Come to Jesus” meetings are the BEST!!

Whatever you are facing that has your mind spinning in a million directions, whatever has smashed your heart into pieces, however far you might have walked away from the Lord, whatever keeps you up late at night,  I hope you will draw near to God and see Him and His glory.

He is singing over you!!!

kids

I’ve had many “Come to Jesus” meetings with these kids through the years and I love them like crazy.

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O Holy Night

How did you start the New Year?

My family drove to Georgia where my oldest daughter and my husband started their new year off by worshipping with 20,000 college students in the Phillips Arena at Passion 2015.  The rest of us spent a couple of days chillaxing, playing cards, eating and doing absolutely nothing–YES!!!  It really was a perfect conclusion to our relaxed/simple holiday season which was much needed after one of the most challenging /busy/hectic years in the life of our family.

Last night we left Georgia around 6:00 pm to drive home  As we drove, we could feel the windows getting colder and colder–we watched the temperature drop to 24 degrees –Brrrr.  HELLO WINTER!!

When we got home at 1:00 am, it was booty kicking cold.  I was one of the last to get out of the van and was able to walk into our home by myself. The moon was out and the quiet, still, frozen, stunning night almost took my breath away (literally and figuratively). Part of me wanted to bundle up and go for a walk, but I thought my family would think I had lost my ever loving mind.

As I walked in the house, The song “O Holy Night” came to my mind.  This morning as I get back into the swing of things, the lyrics continue to rattle around in my mind.  I can’t seem to let them go. Maybe it’s because 2014 left me WEARY, oh so incredibly weary and I’m clinging to the thrill of HOPE. Maybe it’s because His light has warmed my stone, cold heart time and time again.  Maybe it’s because I need His love, His peace, His gospel to break the chains of sin in my heart.

The lyrics from this amazing song from Christmas propel me forward into 2015.  Christ is Lord!! Only God knows what tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next month and the rest of 2015 will hold.

One of the best ways to start a new year is to praise His Holy name with all of our hearts!  I’m incredibly grateful for every single moment of 2014 and all of the ways He worked powerfully in my life and revealed His glory to me…in the midst of the challenging moments as well as the joyous moments.

I am praying that everyone who reads this post will experience the thrill of HOPE.

2015 – Let’s Do This!!

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

hope

Photo by Casey Fulgenzi

 

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