To share or not to share…

It’s been one of those days… you know when you question yourself and why you even bother…?

To share your message or not to share your message. That is the question.

Brené Brown says, when you decide to be in the arena, be prepared to get beat up. She says “know that – the world keeps going, whether you like it or not. The critics are going to be in the arena so might as well invite them in. Also – don’t forget to invite yourself into the arena (as we are often our own worst critic). Yes it’s scary and terrifying to show up and be seen, but it’s not a scary and terrifying is getting to the end of our lives and thinking – ‘what if I would have shown up? What would have been different?’” (adapted from video Brené Brown: Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count)

I would venture to bet that any and all people, at some point in their life, since social media has been introduced to our lives, that they have had some occasion when they wrestle with self-worth and compare self to all the “pinterest perfect” images that are portrayed online.

I personally have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love what potential it has to connect and share. But, at the same time it is such a TRAP! and for me particularly, it breeds a self-centered, competitive, spirit of contempt.

But what is REALLY happening here in my mind as I wrestle with these thoughts and feelings?!?

As a Christ follower, I am to “take every thought captive” 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. “Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.

Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.”

Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.

When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.” (from the beloved devotional His Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

So where does this leave us, me particularly?

This world we live in…the world of social media we play in…it is all TEMPORARY! But God is ETERNAL!

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13: 8

Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLV

Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”  Isaiah 26:4

 

I find my identity, my worth in Christ alone. Yes, He has given me a message to share, and although the enemy will try everything to slow, stop and even push me so fast I miss it…I will NOT be distracted or deterred…so I say STEP ASIDE CRITIC (incl. self doubt). I will fulfill the mission. PERIOD.

 

#betheexample #imperfectlyperfect #unapologeticallyme #inpoweredwoman #mrsboss #purposedriven #shareyourstory #christfollower #oswaldchambers

 

TRIUMPH through the TEARS

wearecolumbineI AM A SCHOOL-SHOOTING SURVIVOR.

There…I said it…I have spent many years of my life watering down that statement. Possibly denying it. Although I know it has had a HUGE impact on how I view life, I never wanted to take ownership of it because I never wanted to give power to that hateful and horrifying event.

It would be easy to question God and question why he would let this happen…for many an event like this could drive a soul into darkness. BUT I truly believe the good Lord uses tragedies like this to shine His light even brighter.

My intention for sharing this part of my story is to share how I believe God can use bad for good and not to let our circumstances define our life, but to be willing to seek the good and the greater purpose in the situation and to therefore to quite possibly take that and create change in the world.

It has been almost 12 months since my last blog post. I owe this long break to this very sensitive subject that has blocked my writing, much like it has blocked me from other joy and experiences in my life. How can I possibly put into words all that I have experienced and felt since this significant event in my life?! How can I possibly pay tribute to all those I desire to, to describe all that I have gleaned from this unimaginable event?! The honest answer is I cannot. So I will not even attempt to. Following the most recent school shooting in Florida on 2.14.18 I felt compelled to share my heart and my triumph through the tears.

SINCE Columbine in 1999, there have been at least 25 fatal, active school shootings at elementary and high schools in America.

My personal belief is that this is not just a gun control issue….My personal belief is IT IS A HEART ISSUE….perhaps even A FAITH ISSUE….You have heard it before, take God out of the schools and evil will just move right in….

Today it has become more and more difficult to speak about one’s faith. I know for many years I censored my testimony to be “respectful” of others beliefs or non-beliefs. HOWEVER that is blasphemy; the exact opposite of what we are called to do as true followers of Christ.  So many times I have shrunk back in my faith; allowing my fleshly desires to over rule  my beliefs, morals and christian values.unitedInPrayer

ON April 20, 1999 I started my day like most other days that semester. I remember it was a beautiful spring day and I dressed in my well-thought-out tank top and jeans complete with a baby blue scarf for a belt. I then drove the short distance to Columbine High school and parked in my assigned spot where I then walked up the long cement steps leading to the exterior doors just adjacent to the school’s library.

The next couple hours continued as normal. But this day seemed to be a bit mild in comparison to other days as I recall it was “senior ditch day” and a “holiday” common for students to not attend class as scheduled. My best friend Michelle and I discussed skipping our 4th period elective class so we could head to the library and get in some extra study time for our physics test. But ultimately we agreed we would attend our separate classes and meet up after, a decision that quite possibly saved our lives.

Unfortunately, our plans to rendezvous after class never occurred; much like many of our hopes and dreams for the upcoming weeks, months and years never occurred. Just twenty minutes after that class bell rang, two evil and very disturbed individuals took it upon themselves to play the role of God and began taking innocent lives through gun fire. My 18-year-old-self would never be the same.

News reports and photographs have since captured the exact steps that I walked up that morning as the place that Rachel Joy Scott and several others took their last breath. Rachel was persecuted for her faith that fateful day in 1999. Her life may have been cut short, but her legacy and her dream lives on in me and all those who also choose to have compassion for individuals. Rachel began a movement when she shared her God-given dream to create a chain reaction of love and compassion:

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 3.19.07 PM

hand of Rachel Joy Scott

“COMPASSION IS THE GREATEST FORM OF LOVE HUMANS HAVE TO OFFER. I HAVE THIS THEORY THAT IF ONE PERSON CAN GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO SHOW COMPASSION, THEN IT WILL START A CHAIN REACTION OF THE SAME. PEOPLE WILL NEVER KNOW HOW FAR A LITTLE KINDNESS CAN GO.” – RACHEL JOY SCOTT

It is becoming more and more common for lost souls to take out their pain and suffering on others, but we believe one can create a positive chain reaction by taking a moment to reach out to someone you may not normally reach out to. As for me, I can’t help but wonder; what if I had turned around in senior English class and actually cared what Dylan Klebold had to say…?

cross

“Hatred Breeds Hate”

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.  – Luke 6: 26-31

Nancy Guthrie sheds some light on how one might actually accomplish this daunting task in her book Praying through the Bible for your Kids;  “The gospel, with its staggering promises of great reward, offers the resources we need for this spirt-driven behavior. As we love our enemies, we model God’s own character, which was manifested fully in Jesus.

TODAY, before another day passes, it is our responsibility to stop hiding our head in the dirt in fear, but to pick up that baton of faith that Rachel Joy Scott so willingly carried and push it forward.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

IT has taken me almost 20 years to share this experience to a greater audience and I have no doubt that the Lord is behind these words as I have prayed about them and sought the Lord in determining the message that is so desperately needed.

I always believed that my angels saved me that fateful day when I was contemplating going to the library. I felt overwhelmingly confident that the Lord had a bigger plan for me, and to be totally transparent, I wrestled with what that purpose was to be and why it hadn’t happened yet.

It was not until I fully surrendered my will, fully surrendered my life and fleshly desires, that the Lord began to do a work in me and reveal his power through me. I believe it is about being obedient to the call from the Lord and passing the baton of faith that began with Rachel Joy Scott.  I had incorrectly believed I needed to discover my own voice, my own message, but today I truly believe it is about being willing to pick up where she left off; just as she so selflessly modeled after Jesus Christ.

For today…I am GRATEFUL to be alive, I am PRESENT and I feel a heart full of COMPASSION and empathy for those who have been most directly affected by mass shootings; but also for our hurting nation as a whole…

Allow me to encourage you today, look up from your devices, look people in the eye, and smile. You never know…that may be the only time that day, week or perhaps in their life that they felt truly seen….LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE NOW, and in doing so it is my HOPE and DESIRE you will create a chain reaction of LOVE, PEACE, JOY and COMPASSION to all those you come into contact.

The great John Wooden said it best:

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For further encouragement, prayer and comfort please see scripture quoted below:

Billygrahm.org Aug 3, 2016  15 Bible Verses to Give You Hope for the Future

Recent events in the U.S. and across the world have affected many of us. As believers, our hearts should break for what breaks Jesus’ heart, and we mourn with those who mourn. But as we do—keeping our eyes on Jesus by praying and staying in God’s Word, we can find hope for the future.

Meditate on what God says in these promises from Scripture and find lasting hope amid a world that can feel hopeless.

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

—Jeremiah 29:11

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

—1 Peter 1:3-4

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

—Philippians 3:20

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

—Zephaniah 3:17

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

—Romans 15:13

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

—Isaiah 40:31

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”

—Psalm 39:7

“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

—Titus 2:13

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

—Romans 12:12

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”

—2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

—Romans 8:18

“Behold, I am coming soon.”

—Revelation 22:12

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

—Romans 15:4

 

 

I will instruct you…

“TRUST ME…Don’t fall into the trap of being constantly on the go. Many, many things people do in My Name have no value in My kingdom. To avoid doing meaningless works, stay in continual communication with Me. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” – Jesus Calling daily devotional 2/9/17

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you”. —PSALM 32:8 NASB

I have learned that to escape the feeling of loneliness does not mean to fill all my available time with random activities, rather to be intentional about my day and who I allow to pour into me. I am a product of those I spend the most time with…

I now can see very clearly what and who support me on the journey that I so desire to move…
I am grateful that God instructs me clearly and leads me to His word to find guidance in determining which path to take; and MOST importantly meets me ANYTIME i want to consult His opinion. Trying to figure it out on my own…attempting to control it all…was exhausting and unfulfilling and left me very anxious and lonely.
I have been so blessed to meet and get to know the most incredible individuals during the last few weeks. People who were literally steps away to thousands of miles away…but because I have been obedient to take action when I felt the nudge, God has blessed me beyond belief with the most perfectly gifted people at the most perfect time. As a result I have moved forward faster than I could have ever dreamed…

thought to ponder…If it doesn’t come easy, it may not be the correct path at the right time (and that does not exclude relationships)

OR

perhaps it is indeed the right path, but the adversary is attempting to distract you for the blessings that await….more on that another time….