Saturday, December 17, 2011

Potty Training.

So, we've decided it was time for the epic battle. We've tried wearing undies a few times, like once a month on saturday when we're at home with nothing to do. We've practiced how to put them on, we've practiced how to pull them down. We've read a few children's books all about the potty. Scott and I actually have a lot of time off in the next week between the two of us, and decided it was time. Ruby can tell us when she's wet and so if she can tell us, we thought we'd dive in.

Ruby, in full stubbornness, decided she NEVER wanted to wear undies. After almost an hour of crying, tears and throwing undies at us, she fell asleep, undies on. After waking from this exhausted nap, she left them on, no arguments. At bedtime, she told us she wanted to wear her undies. Scott told her that at bed time she could wear a pull-up. Of course, that led to a little more battle this morning. It's now 11:03. We've only had one accident today. We're staying home all day, so i'm sure there will be more. Somehow, I think this whole thing would be easier if our darling child wasn't so stubborn :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Imaginary Jesus.

I just finished reading this book called Imaginary Jesus. It's christian fiction, and some of the best I've read. Through humor, it examines the different Jesus' we conjure up in our own lives, that keep us from living for and following the real Jesus. I am especially fond of Magic 8 ball Jesus, but you need to read the book to really experience him. It's insightful, and at times a little heartbreaking. I was most taken in by the description of why Jesus lets bad things happen. In a conversation with the "real" Jesus,the author, Matt poses the following question. Enjoy the excerpt :)

“If you had been here,” I said, “my baby would still be alive.” I couldn’t bring myself to say it as a question. Where were you? If you love us so much, how could you let this happen?

Jesus was silent for a long time, his hands still on my head. I felt him lean down near my ear, and then he spoke quietly. “I am the resurrection and the life. Belief in me brings life, even if you die. And for those who live and believe in me, they will never die.” He paused. Then he asked me, “Do you believe this?”

Did I believe? If I didn’t believe that he had power over life and death, why would I be angry? There would be no point in being angry at a powerless God, because it wouldn’t be his fault that he couldn’t intervene. My anger and pain, then, were actually evidences of a deep certainty that Jesus has power over life and death. I believed with all my heart that he could bring life into any circumstance. I simply didn’t understand why he had chosen not to do so with my child. The otherness of someone who has power over death suddenly hit me. Here was Jesus, God in the flesh, who had come to earth not to condemn the world but to save it. To save us, his creation, the world and people he had brought into existence merely by desiring it. And here I was, a few decades old, thinking I could tell him how to save us.

Mikalatos, Matt; George Barna (2010-03-27). Imaginary Jesus (Kindle Locations 2907-2917). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

What a great encouragement! That in all things, when we are hurting, Jesus still has all the power. He's right there in the pain, weeping with us, and asking us to be real in our pain. I'm so excited that we serve such a Great Big GOD!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taking the Plunge!

After some prayer, a few discussions, and a lot of nervous energy, I have officially decided to learn all I can about becoming a disney travel consultant. I started the training program tonight. I will continue in foster care as long as I can. I've set one year as the time in which I will commit to this new project. After that, I'll evaluate how much time I'm spending, and if its worth it. I'm excited about it, but I'm nervous too. It's overwhelming, but it's something I've considered for over a year. No point in putting it off any longer, may as well dive in and see if I can make it!


I totally LOVED the stores opening at MIDNIGHT! Scott went out black friday shopping with me for the first time, and Daley, then Joe joined up with us during the night. It was a ton of fun. Now, here I sit on Saturday night, with almost ALL of my shopping done.

I still don't have answers about my job, but it'll work out I'm sure. I'm still considering joining the travel industry and spending my days making other people happy. I think that you should not ALLOW your 18 year old self to determine what your 30 year old self would enjoy doing every day. To be fair, I do like most aspects of my current job, but on nights like this, I'm left wondering if maybe something else would be more enjoyable.

I brought home probably 3 hours worth of work that I need to do this weekend. I haven't quite gotten to any of it, so Sunday is looking like it's going to be a long day. Some of it MUST be done tomorrow no matter what, as its DUE at 9am Monday. The rest of it, I just need to focus to get done for the end of the month.

I was really excited for a student on our quiz team today--her mom set up a "secret scavenger hunt from Santa--the last clue disclosing that they are going on a DISNEY CRUISE. Pretty excited for her, that's an amazing gift.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

5 months?

Ok. So, its been 5 months since I updated. This is the news I have to share: I am a failure. I got up to 5 minutes of running before I gave up, as my lungs continued to complain and remind me that I am not a runner. However, today we got the news that my co-workers and I have expected for months. Catholic Charities is closing their child welfare division. I'm pretty angry about it, and could probably benefit from a long run. I couldn't afford to go to the race, but maybe it would help.
Here are the reasons I am angry:
1. Catholic Charities did nothing to look out for the best interest of their employees or the families we serve. I can't speak completely to that right now, but next month, if I truly am unemployed, I will.
2. Catholic Charities said in their statement today that the financial burden was too great. It would be nice if they could at least not act like we're a burden in our final weeks. Maybe a little sadness, or tears. I mean, not a national holiday or anything, but SOMETHING.
3. Those children already have had their lives disrupted, and Catholic Charities has not done due diligence to ensure them the least disruption (again, more from the unemployment line).
4. I have believed for 5 years that Catholic Charities cared about more than money.
5. I'm terrified about being unemployed, so it is easier to be angry.

Now, back to running. If I don't have a job, I'll have plenty of time to train. Then, when I get a totally awesome new job doing something that I love (and possibly not child welfare related) I will be able to go to a RunDisney event.

I'm contemplating marketing, or event planning. Maybe even data entry for awhile, or retail. I'm pretty jaded about child welfare at the moment, but in truth, the kids of Illinois deserve some stability, so I won't take social work completely off the table just yet. I just might take a break for awhile. Work on running. Work on learning a new trade. Having an adventure. The adventure today is how we will pay the bills come January 1st. For today though, I'm trusting that God has a plan bigger than I can see, and an exciting adventure is awaiting just around the corner.

Maybe even Catholic Charities will surprise me, and we'll get a really sweet deal with minimal transition.

No matter what, I'm sure I'll have more time for blogging, so check back soon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

a heart breaking day.

Ok, so its been over a month, but I'm a work in progress.

Today, I started my day early, showering, and hanging out with Ruby. Fun stuff. But then, I returned to work after having been sick for 3 days last week. Almost immediately my heart was BROKEN. See, I have a kid, who's been on my caseload since she came into care in January 2008. She's been through a lot. She's gotten her life together famously, honor roll, active in youth group, model kid. She's been with her foster family 2.5 years, 3 christmases. I arrived to the news that her foster parents were splitting up. It broke my heart. Today, I spent a LOT of time with her, and cried with and for her. I cried for her foster parents too--they've been married a long time, and a lot of hurtful things are being said by everyone.

Molly, Lori, and Hannah were here tonight, listening to my story, and sharing my heartache. I am thankful for friends who can be here, and that makes my heart long for those who can't. I miss the small group culture of a few important ladies in my life.

The glory in this is tonight, I see this facebook status: How lucky are we to have a God that we cannot exaggerate.

AMEN. That makes my heart sing. Loudly in praise to a God who has things under control. Who we can't exaggerate. Who sees our heartache and wraps his arms around us. ALL OF US. Tonight, I pray for peace for this broken and hurting family. and for a girl, who i love deeply, who may be losing her second family. God can handle this, and his peace is all we've got some days.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bucket list.

Ok. So, I always thought a bucket list was a cute idea, but not entirely something I would add in to my life. My very ambitious friend Anndee does a more intense version--having set 30 goals to reach by 30, and on her 30th birthday setting 40 by 40. I think those were NEW goals, not recycled, just adding 10. I admire her. I did just check and she hasn't updated her list in over a year. Still. It's a cool idea.

About a year ago, I was playing around on a (not THE) disney page. I was in a forum, and came across ALL these people setting goals to run something called "disney princess half marathon". Gee, that sounds really fun, I thought to myself.

Everyone who knows me just reacted like this "Wait, what? No, that doesn't sound fun. Your running philosophy is to only run when chased".

This, my friends is a sad, but true statement about my life. So, I began eating a little better and drinking that dreaded clear stuff that comes out of the faucet a little more. I even tried running. I did. I got advice from people I know who had run marathons. I also told a few people of my grand plan--to motivate me. I read a lot of things on running. It seemed almost any idiot could do it. Well, i'm not any idiot. I worked hard for most of May and June on this task, but by July--well, I was frustrated. So, I quit. I had plenty of time anyway, as I had set my heart on the disney princess 2012. I still talked about wanting to run the half, but more as a distant dream. I even went out and ran, or at least walked fast...when the weather was nice. Then, OTHER people started to say they wanted to go too. REALLY? It was obvious to me the people saying this were also not runners.

2 months ago, i started running again...a little more consistently.

This week, I've freaked myself out completely. First, this is the 3rd week in a row i'm doing 90 second intervals. I just can't seem to break through that. WHAT IF I NEVER DO?? --doing away with my defeatist attitude, im shooting for 2 minutes next week. baby steps.

Yesterday, I actually measured out far 13.1 miles. Let me tell you, that is a REALLY long distance. Longer perhaps than my mind had managed to believe.

But, the freak outs did not defeat me. I didn't go run this morning. But, I did go run tonight. I also started making a list to repeat to myself to motivate me as I go.

*I can be a runner because I am a runner. I am running.
*I will be a good example for my daughter.
*I really want that princess medal.
*If this gets me a trip to disney, its worth it.
*I deserve to be healthy.
*If Oprah can run a marathon, I can do half of that.

All of my runner friends say things like "running off stress", "running releases endorphins, so you'll love it", "Running is fun". I have yet to believe ANY of these things. Running makes me stressed, running makes me tired, and running is NOT exactly my idea of fun.

The race is in 298 days. I better get some sleep.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thank you Mr. President.

Well, I'm glad the President released that birth certificate so that people can shut up. To Mr. Trump--taking credit for the release only makes you look petty and silly, because as it turns out, Mr. Obama was indeed born in the USA, and so it was a huge waste of time--and probably money that our government doesn't have (as not all are as fortunate as Mr. Trump to be gazillionaires).

In other news. I'm supposed to be training for a half marathon. It's an awesome goal. And I really want to do it. HOWEVER--I have a terrible lack of motivation to actually train. This would be ok if I were in shape and had ever run a mile full on in my life, but I haven't. The rain isn't helping. Without wasting money on a gym membership (as I want that money to take me to disney) I must run outside. IN THE RAIN. Maybe, if it were 2 weeks until the race, and i could do 2 hours of running straight, i would commit to that. I will not commit to that when I would just basically be wandering aimlessly in the rain for 30 minutes pretending I was a hard core runner.

If you are able to provide me with more incentive or motivation than getting in shape and going to Disney, let me know.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tricked ya!

I bet a ton of you (the 4-5 that still visit this page) thought I would update my layout (like i do once a year) and then not be back. SURPRISE!! Here I am.

Last night Ruby, Danielle, and I went to Kohls and picked out Ruby's easter dress. Then to ihop-where we talked about life, death and Jesus.

Today, we went to Westbrook and participated in their egg hunt. It was really fun. They had a story time, craft, egg dying center, snack and easter egg hunt. It was like a 2 hour VBS. Ruby had a great time.

Also, for those of you who don't know--I start the official princess training program this week. Good luck to me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A new commitment to blogging.

I started a devotional blog a few years ago, and then abandoned it. Why have two blogs, when I don't update the one I have? Anyway. I copied them over here. If you’re interested they are below. Good reminders. Good solution. One Blog. I can do this, now it will be a healthy mix of stories about my life AND some of my thoughts on faith. Those things go together, so lets get to it.

Fear: another life lesson from Peter

What are you afraid of?
What overwhelms you?
What makes you want to hide in the closet?

Peter was impulsive. He did things with passion and excitement. He had what some today would maybe even call a "flare for the dramatic". He was always doing something crazy. Like cutting off the ear of a soldier to protect Jesus. He was always bold. Never afraid, right?

We know Peter as the "rock" the disciple Jesus chooses to build his church. The strong one. The caretaker. Jesus tells Peter to "look after the flock" in John chapter 21.

So Peter, the strong, passionate, brave one can even be overcome by fear. Let's look at the story of Peter walking on the water.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."

Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."

He said, "Come ahead."

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"

Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" --Matthew 14:24-31 the message

So Peter, jumps into the water, to do this amazing thing he sees Jesus doing. All the other disciples are probably mumbling about how Peter is showing off again and some probably are hoping he succeeds, while others are probably hoping the show-off drowns.

Peter takes a few steps. Kinda cocky. Looking Good. Setting the example. Trusting Jesus. Then all of a sudden, he looks around. He takes his eyes off of Jesus. He notices how dark it is, he hears the water swishing and feels it cold against his feet. He hears the faint voices of those still safely in the boat. He feels the wind blowing his clothes, the smell of the water gets into his nose. He looks down into the swirling water and begins to sink. He's terrified--he's probably thinking "This isn't some kiddy pool--this is deep water!!" So he's scared, he's ovewhelmed, and he can feel the water now raging all around him as he sinks deeper and deeper. In desperation, he calls out to Jesus to save him. Jesus grabs on, and helps him back into the boat. Then Jesus asks him this important question: WHY DID YOU DOUBT?

How often in our own lives do we try to do something, only to get scared and back off. Do you feel Jesus calling you to come, to try and step out and then you take your eyes off of him only to become overwhelmed and feel like you're in over your head? It's easy to be passionate. It's not always easy to follow through on that passion. Peter loved Jesus. Believed in him--trusted him. Except once he got out onto the water, he decided to trust himself and what he knew more. The end result: He's all wet, he's scared and he's desperately searching for salvation.

Standing up for what you believe, even when others disagree. Seeking to do the right thing, even when it hurts. Staying to hold someones hand when walking away is the easiest choice. Living for Jesus when people laugh at the lifestyle. We step out of the boat all the time, excited about the adventure of walking on the water. Then we begin to trust ourselves, and our own experiences. We get hurt. We get scared. Life gets too hard. We can feel the water creeping up around us, and the waves crashing over us. We feel the wind burning our cheeks in powerful gusts. Do we trust ourselves to calm the storm, or do we cry out to Jesus--trusting that he will pull us out and dry us off?

Jesus is there, waiting for our cry. Hoping we're passionate enough, and that we are brave enough to step out again. Asking that we keep our eyes on him to get us through the storm.


Often in life, we make commitments to things and then don't follow through. We fail to do the things we set out to do. What are the reasons for these failings? Is it because it got too hard? Or we got too busy with other stuff? Or someone criticized you? made you feel like you weren't good enough?

Lets look at the definition of fail: –verb
: to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted,
desired, or approved
: to be unsuccessful in the performance or completion

Well, we're all failures. None of us can, on our own strength live up to every expectation set before us. We fail our friends, by not taking time to go to lunch when they're hurting. We fail our parents by breaking rules, or by not believing as they believe. We fail our families by burning dinner. We fail ourselves because we set the bar too high. We expect to be able to do everything well and we end up getting overwhelmed and failing everything.

We all have a fear of failure. Sometimes, we set a goal, and then, we get scared of not making it, so we give up all together. I see this a lot in the lives of others, and a lot in my own life. We get scared, and so we walk away. Or we do something half-way, and that way, later on--if we fail, we know we didn't try our hardest, so its ok that we failed.

It's a terrible feeling, to fail. To know that you aren't "good enough". The good news for us is that Jesus doesn't care. In fact, the disciple that we see fail the most is the one Jesus chooses to build his church. Peter was a failure. Lets look at just a few examples :

The words were barely out of his mouth when Judas (the one from the Twelve) showed up, and with him a gang from the high priests and religious leaders brandishing swords and clubs. The betrayer had worked out a sign with them: "The one I kiss, that's the one—seize him." He went straight to Jesus, greeted him, "How are you, Rabbi?" and kissed him.

Jesus said, "Friend, why this charade?"

Then they came on him—grabbed him and roughed him up. One of those with Jesus pulled his sword and, taking a swing at the Chief Priest's servant, cut off his ear.

Jesus said, "Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords. Don't you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies—more, if I want them—of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready? But if I did that, how would the Scriptures come true that say this is the way it has to be?" --Matthew 26:-47-54 (the message)

So here Peter immediately becomes battle ready--without any instruction from Jesus and Jesus tells him that fighting isn't the answer. How do you think Peter felt? Here he is, trying to defend Jesus, and Jesus--in front of the entire crowd calls him out and tells him to knock it off.

Not long after, something else happens to Peter:

All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, "You were with Jesus the Galilean." In front of everybody there, he denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about."

As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazarene." Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: "I swear, I never laid eyes on the man."

Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. "You've got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away." Then he got really nervous and swore. "I don't know the man!"

Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and cried and cried and cried. Matthew 26:69-75 (the message)

Peter, ready to defend Jesus to the death just hours before, becomes a coward. He can't stand up for the very cause he was willing to die for. In Luke, it tells us that from where Jesus was being charged, he could see into the courtyard, and looked at Peter. How do you think Peter felt later, as he watches Jesus dying on the cross, and the last interaction they had was Peter's repeated denial. Talk about failure--but then something amazing happens. Look at John chapter 21, verses 15-18 (the message):

After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Master, you know I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

He then asked a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Master, you know I love you." Jesus said, "Shepherd my sheep."

Then he said it a third time: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

Jesus is instructing Peter to go out, build the church and be a pastor--a shepherd to the people. He tells him to look after the believers after he is gone. Peter, the impulsive coward. Peter makes me feel good about myself. I mean seriously, as much as I screw up-- this guy spent 3 years day and night with Jesus, recognized him as the Christ -- and STILL screwed things up. I think that Jesus knows that we're not perfect, and he doesn't expect us to be. He just expects us to do our best to follow him. If we get lost, or screw up, its ok. As long as we are working toward being like Jesus, and trying to show his love in all we do, I think we're on the right track.

grace mixed with faith

These are some of my favorite verses in the NIV, and they translate well into the Message also. So often, we hurt others, or we get hurt, and rather than forgiving, or asking for forgiveness, we go on as if everything is alright. This does no one justice, because that hurt continues inside of us, with all kinds of other hurts, until all of the hurts pile up, and we become overwhelmed. This passage reminds us that we all screw up, yet God totally still wants us to be part of his big plan. and thats awesome--because I know I screw up from time to time, and its good to know that God's grace and love can redeem me! Here are the verses, about how God still calls us to do His work.

I'm so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn't know what I was doing—didn't know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.

Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. 1 Timothy 1:12-16 (The Message)

God--thank you for showing us mercy when we don't deserve it. As we strive to be like you, let your mercy be shown to others. Help us to be patient and respond with your love and strength when others hurt us. We are all failures, and we all screw up and hurt others, and because of your grace, we continue on.
Thank you for giving me such great love and freedom in your love and peace. Let us continue to love, through our hurts, as we heal from woulds we have received, and inflicted. Let your love and light shine through us as we struggle to be like you.


I would like you to take some time to read Psalm 136. And be encouraged.
Thats all I want right now-is for you to be encouraged.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.

and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.

with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.

and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.

but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.

who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.

and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.

Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.

and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.

and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.

an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Great Quote!

It's hard to convince someone to be something you're not.

Think hard about that. Think about why you even want that for someone else when you don't want it for yourself.

This statement has really made me think. When I decided to post tonight, I had a totally different topic in mind, but after some prayer, I want to tell you part of my story.

I was so good at playing the Jesus game in high school it was unreal. In fact, if you had been around, and asked anyone from church, they probably would have told you what a GREAT PLAN God had for my life. Well--it would have been true--because God did have a great plan for my life, just like He does for yours-and I think I even believed it. It didn't change how I treated people. It didn't change my attitude or my actions. I'm sure that while some people at school would have described me as "nice" others would have used very different words. See, I didn't realize that you "live through it". More than faith in Jesus, I had faith in my peers--whether they were church goers or not. I wanted to be cool, to fit in, and to do what everyone else was doing, and if your schools are anything like mine was--Jesus was not exactly "cool". I mean, theres all those rules, and you shouldn't swear, or drink at parties, or dance provocatively....I remember after my junior year in high school I was at EC camp with our old youth pastor--and he totally tried to call me out. Instead, i walked away, because walking away is SO much easier (and lets be honest--so much cooler!!) that actually confronting the sin in our lives.

I watch some of you playing that same game. And I have news for you--I'm calling you out. You may not like it, but there it is. JESUS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FITTING IN. You will "live through" being the kid who doesn't cuss, the kid who sits with the loner, the kid who just helps people. Oh, you'll get made fun of for sure--and to be honest--I was never really brave enough to do it for long. I had trouble explaining why faith was important, and in the end, more often than not, I caved in to the pressure to fit in. I'm not proud of it, but I can think back about how I wish I would have been, and I have regrets.

I have had people who have come to me, as an adult now, telling me that they had gone to church with me, because they "thought" i had something, and then realized I was just like everyone else. One person even told me that I made them hate church, because they didn't want to be like me.

The AWESOME ROCKSTAR CHURCH ME--disappeared on friday night at the football game or alone with my boyfriend on sunday afternoon. I am now calling you to the most difficult thing--don't be afraid of loving Jesus. You'll live through it. And you'll be respected for it.

Stop playing games with your faith. Stop talking about being the light in the darkness and just do it. You can make a difference in the lives of all your hurting friends, you just have to stop playing the game and realize that its about FOREVER, not about being cool on Friday night.

I will leave you with this scripture:

The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

You stare and stare at the obvious, but you can't see the forest for the trees. If you're looking for a clear example of someone on Christ's side, why do you so quickly cut me out? Believe me, I am quite sure of my standing with Christ. You may think I overstate the authority he gave me, but I'm not backing off. Every bit of my commitment is for the purpose of building you up, after all, not tearing you down. 2 Corinthians 10:3-8 (The Message)

It doesn't have to be a battle.

We spend a lot of time fighting God. Sometimes, its to get our way. Sometimes, its to avoid what God is calling us to do. On occasion, it may even be because we don't feel qualified or worthy of the life God has for us. Or maybe, we are just angry, and God is an easy target.

It's not that hard. God loves us no matter how much we struggle against that love. God will ALWAYS love us, even when we think we've gone beyond what he can love. NOTHING stops God from loving us. Nothing stops God from weeping when we weep, and laughing when we laugh.

Following God is a hard road. He never promised that it would be easy. He never told us we couldn't argue and try and bargain for an easier life. Believing in God is easy, truly following God, and loving the way God loves is where it gets a little tricky. But it doesn't have to be a battle. In fact, the more you give in to what God has for your life, the less likely you are to struggle against it, because even when it isn't easy, you can trust that God is looking out for your best interest.

We make it into this epic battle, because we make it all about us. We make it about what God has called "ME" to do. Well, God calls all of us to difficult things at times, and the best we can do is trust in him. It's not a battle. Jesus won the battle when he died and then rose from the dead. The battle part is over. Now all thats left is the victory dance. To show others that it doesn't have to be this BATTLE. Drinking, smoking, fooling around, swearing, and whatever else you can throw in there--is all part of the battle against God's love.

When Jesus died, it wasn't about him. The Bible even says He didn't want to do it--he prayed that God would somehow deliver him. But he wasn't delivered. He still had to die, and he did it for you, and for me--to win the battle. So that it wouldn't be a battle for us. So we could show up at God's victory party on the winning team.

If it doesn't have to be a battle, if we don't have to struggle to earn God's love, and we know that God loves us, no matter what, then why don't we start living even in the hard times like we're at a celebration??

So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, NOTHING COULD BE PLAINER: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. 1 TIMOTHY 1:8-10 The Message

It doesn't mean there won't be tough times, and that we won't have questions and that we won't get mad or struggle...but...Let's stop fighting this pointless battle. Lets Go to God, and accept the love HE offers to us. Take the good with the bad. Talk with God and let Him get you through the tough stuff. There's no point fighting with the battle already won. Instead, lets turn our lives into a victory dance, so that everyone can see--in each of us GOD's amazing LOVE.


We spend a lot of time searching. We wonder why things happen, why God chooses us for the tasks he chooses us for and why he loves us. I remember babysitting back in high school, and this one girl (she was about 4 I think) would ask me "WHY" about everything. Our conversations went a lot like this: "lets eat dinner" 'Why' , "lets watch a movie" "why" "lets get our pj's on" "why". You get the picture. I babysat every tuesday night for this family, and every tuesday night it was the same thing. Same topics. Same questions. It drove me nuts!! I couldn't wait for her to grow out of it so we could have a conversation.

The reality is that this mimics our relationship with God.We don't understand. We ask why.

The crazy thing is God answers. He says WHY NOT?? But that answer isn't good enough for us, because it's really just too simple. What do you mean why not?? thats obvious, im stupid, ugly, fat, obnoxious, sneaky, a liar...put whatever you want in there...we give God millions of reasons why we are the "WRONG" person for the job. Why someone else would be better, why someone else is more deserving of HIS love. Why someone else has more worth.

And God sets examples for us to help us understand that we don't have to be even close to perfect to trust in Him. Look at the the disciples starting in Mark Chapter 4:33-end (and i'm using the message-which gives it a little different phrasing)

With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots.

Late that day he said to them, "Let's go across to the other side." They took him in the boat as he was. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, "Teacher, is it nothing to you that we're going down?"

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, "Quiet! Settle down!" The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: "Why are you such cowards? Don't you have any faith at all?"

They were in absolute awe, staggered. "Who is this, anyway?" they asked. "Wind and sea at his beck and call!"

Jesus had to explain his stories to his disciples--because they didn't get it. Right after that-they are out in the boat, and Jesus is asleep, and the disciples are probably hanging out, when all of a sudden there is this crazy storm. Well-that's ok. Most of the disciples were fishermen!! That meant they had experience on the water--but they get so scared..they wake up Jesus--who then calls them cowards--and says that they have no faith.

Jump ahead to Mark 7

When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, "We don't get it. Put it in plain language."

Jesus said, "Are you being willfully stupid? Don't you see that what you swallow can't contaminate you? It doesn't enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed." (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)

He went on: "It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."

These guys spent EVERY DAY with Jesus-they spent all of their time with God. There was no facebook, no HOUSE, No Grey's anatomy, no ipod, no cell phone. It was just them and JESUS--yet throughout their time with Jesus they are constantly asking questions. They are constantly doubting the true power of Jesus. The example that God gave us--well..its not hard to live up to being a leper or a tax collector, or a fisherman. I'm sure that in their days with Jesus, they asked the question WHY all the time--"why did you do this, Jesus?" "why didn't you do that Jesus?" like small children who ask why about everything, Jesus answered their questions with love and patience. He never dismissed them and decided that he would go get a few rabbi's and teachers to follow him. He just kept explaining with total patience no matter how many times they asked. And he did it with patience and understanding.

So where does that leave us?? Asking questions. But maybe we shouldn't be so suprised when we question God and he replies---WHY NOT??