We all mess up. We all fall short. We all wish we could be a little bit better. And when that happens, we wonder if God still really wants to use us. People comment on our strengths or what they admire about us and we think, "Oh, if you only knew what I'm like in my worst moments."
But here's the reality: God does know you in your worst moments. He knows all the things hidden in your heart. He knows what you even hide from yourself. And he picked you anyway.
I sat with my head leaning on my hand, my eyes glazing over as I stared at the computer screen and scrolled through my bank account. I knew enough to know it wasn't good for it to be going out faster than it was coming in. But I couldn't figure out how to make sense of all those numbers with dollar signs in front of them. I was never very good at math. When real life (aka. student loans, rent, and grocery bills) and math started to collide, I knew I was going to need help with what felt like a high-wire balancing act. I always felt a little bit like a failure because I couldn't figure out how to budget on my own. But then I learned there are people who are actually really good at this. The best part is, those people usually love to help those of us who find the numbers game a bit more challenging.
I don’t like heights, so when I arrived at the zip line park, my heart went into overdrive. As I stood on the tiny platform, there was nothing between me and the ground, hundreds of feet below.
I put my gloved hands on the zip line while everything in me was screaming to turn around and go back to solid ground.
But then I let go.
If I asked you how you are today, you might (like so many of us) answer, "Fine." But underneath that answer could be questions, struggles, insecurities. How do I know? Because I'm human too.
And every day we need to hear one thing: You're going to be okay.
“Where are the lame? I must make my home in their shadow. Where are the lowly- the ones despised? Where is pain at this moment? Because I have tired of trying to get God to come to me, instead I will enter into the place where He already is... when you avoid pain, above all else, you are avoiding God.” ~ Matthew Lyle Mooney, A Story Unfinished.
Two weeks ago I stole this book from my friend Keri’s desk (with her permission). Little did I know, it was my heart that was about to be stolen.
When I walked in the door, a wide smile filled little Elle's face and she ran into my arms. For the next several minutes, Elle circled around the crowded room. Each time she made her way purposely back to me, placed both hands on my knees, and said, "There you are!" It was as if Elle wanted me to know that in the midst of a crowd, she delighted that I was in the room.
1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV) says, "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!"
It makes me wonder: Do I see Jesus like Elle sees me?
When you enjoy your life you bring joy to the One who gave it to you.
And that, my friend, is why the enemy of your soul hates what makes you truly joyful. Because he is out to destroy anything and everything that brings God joy.
I'm kind of a nerd. I love school supplies. I can get lost in the never-ending aisles of sharpies, pretty notebooks, crayons, and pencils. I've always been this way. When I was a kid, a new notebook said so much more than me than just, "it's time to go back to school." A new, blank notebook was full of potential. The possibilities were endless. There were plenty of other challenges to deal with on the first day of school. But when I could face them with a new notebook and some new supplies, it made it just a little bit easier.
There are many children here in Northwest Arkansas who don't have that option.
Can you imagine your life without freedom? Nowhere to turn for justice. Government being the source of oppression rather than protection. For those of us fortunate enough to live in the United States of America, it is easy to take for granted the unparalleled liberty we've experienced for over 200 years. Unless you are a serious student of world history or have traveled extensively, you actually may not recognize how unique, rare, and precious the blessings of liberty really are.
On my nephew’s first birthday, his mom pulled out a shiny can. It was a time capsule to be filled with letters and mementos.
Last year, my nephew turned 18. His mom pulled out the now-dented can with its faded label. For the next hour there was lots of laughter, but also tears as Jason read through letters from loved ones no longer here on earth.