Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

Activating the Power of Thank You

Power of Thank You

The poor thing, she had been up all night hacking.

I shut my door.

“I can’t sleep if all I hear – is her,” I thought.

I wasn’t trying to be cruel, but, we all know how mothers end up when sleep gets lost. They turn ugly, mean and tense. I hate being that lady; I get mad at that lady. Anything not to be – that lady.

Hours later, the barks still ensued. Then, an internal battle ensued – do I get up or do I not get up? My mind wrestled: If I get up, I will never get back down. I will never fall back to sweet and delicious sleep again – I know how this game goes.

I climbed out of bed, checked the clock, stubbed my toe and headed to the medicine cabinet. It was the unseen hour that called for more medicine. Moms don’t give up.

power of thanks

Begrudgingly, I kicked open the door, my mind half out of its own mind. I stumbled in, expecting to drop the junk down her throat and stumble out. But, what happened next woke me. It jolted me like coffee.

power of thank youFrom her helpless position, she looked, and said, “Thank you, mommy.”

My heart nearly dropped to the floor. Wow. She sees. She knows. She appreciates.

I felt loved.
 
I felt adored.


I felt alive. I would have gotten up a thousand more times, every single night (well, maybe), just to hear that sweet honey come off her lips.

I mattered.

Do I show God he matters like that? I wonder. I doubt it.


Guilt hits. Then, love arrives. God doesn’t need me to know he matters; but, I need him to know I matter. And, maybe this is the point. It’s probably far less about what he gets from these words and far more about how I feel when I speak these words. It is far more about me seeing the rescues, the panaceas and the answers that arrive out of nowhere. It is far more about me realizing how loved I am and how far out of his way he would go to help me.
Now I see: The small whisper of thank you is the moment you realize you’re daughter – and you’re really cared for.
power of thanks
It is the moment that you realize God would do anything to love you.
It is the joy that comes from receiving instead of striving.
It is the power that unfolds from heaven right in your lap.
It is the realization that kingdom come will come because God gives good things.
It is the inclination to bow down and see how tall God really stands over the world.
It is looking at the might that has might – and acknowledging it.
It is the strong hold of one stronger – that has the power to take hold over your life.
It is you not being you, as you normally are, but being you – with gratefulness.
 It is the uncovering of the jewels you never knew existed.

It is the unwavering trust that he will do it again.

It is seeing him as he is – good.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps. 106:1

Thanks gives legs to greater faith, for it believes in the one who gives – and will give. The giver is daddy. He pours out every time. And in the process, as we trust this, we are changed. We become little balls bursting with humility, dipped in his love, coming out covered in good. We become sweetened by grace and full of excitement about who we are becoming.

Thanks is anticipation of God’s faithfulness. It, frankly, is delicious.

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That’s “Nacky”

Do you have a funny word you embrace in your home that is totally understood by everyone under your roof, coined by a toddler?

When my sons were babies they called my daughter Maggie, “Yaya.”  We still call her this.

My cousin called underwear “O-di-os.” And we rarely say underwear, they are O-di-os.

And it spans the generations. My husband’s family still teases about getting your “baby-soup” on so we can go swimming, a term my husband used as a toddler.

I am 44-years-old, and my family still calls washcloths hoffcloths.” I have never lived down that which I said… when I was two.

Our oldest son John called spoons “Mooshes” and nasty “Nacky.” At our youngest son’s 1st birthday the 3-year-old John was exasperated by his baby brother’s “nacky” face after he ate cake with his hands instead of with a “moosh.”

These word oddities are habits, often we must correct ourselves in public as the nonsense isn’t appropriate outside the clique of family.

Recently one of our kids made a mistake, he was mortified. The man-child went on a rant about his foolishness. I consoled him and encouraged.  He couldn’t get past his folly and berated himself ruthlessly.

It broke my heart to him speak so harshly of himself. I rubbed his shoulder and mused, “Oh you are just being NACKY! Stop!”

He softened a bit and rolled his eyes.  At 6’3” with a full beard, I am certain he wishes he could break away from the baby talk.

A couple days later I had to get on the scale at the doctor’s office.

Ugh.

My encounter with too many “Mooshes” was making my “O-di-os” too tight and my body was not ready for “baby-soup” season.

I grumbled at myself – disgust.

I mumbled ugliness about my lack of self-control and my disdain for my current state.

I blew my nose and wiped some tears and heard a familiar, still voice from deep within.

“That’s nacky.”

And I knew the voice.

And I knew the term.

And I knew the voice meant my critical assault on self, not the size of my hiney.

I was being “nacky.”

And more than tears over my current physical struggles, I was slain by a wave of love from my Heavenly Father. 

I was reminded that “nacky” feeling I had when my son was hating on himself for making a mistake. A mistake that could be remedied. A mistake that was done without malice, simply an earthly mistake. In an instant I was in unison with my Lord and all the ways, He parents me.

He wanted me to ease up. He wanted me to turn to Him and talk, ask for help, and then let go.  And no, not let go and continue to not care for myself, His daughter. But to stop haranguing myself with “nacky” self-hatred.

Just like the horribleness I felt when my child was so unforgiving with his folly, God opened my eyes to the parallels of my punitive words.

His gentleness continues to move me. A good Father, encourager, and devoted parent who craves a chance to nurture and love on me.  He died that I might have amity with this life. His spirit lingers, whispering tender love and peaceable direction.

His love is perfect.

His parenting flawless.

He is completely void of nackiness….

 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

 

7 Ways to Speak Grace Into Your Life

God Will Punish

Every week, after church, I ask my son what song he sang. I wait. Half the time, I get no answer, the other half, I exert patience until he starts to belt it out from the back of the car.  Almost always, a smile spreads across my face. Almost always, I can’t wait to hear his little voice reflect on God, but this time, it was different…

“Pat, the bible. Pat the bible….,” he sang out a couple of times….
“Or, you will get a con. se. quence.” he finished off.

Every time he sang it, it got a little louder, until the full volume of his voice filled the car. Sister joined in. It’s been the song of the week.

God will punish

Is it the song of my life?

Why do I pat the bible?

Do I do it out of love or do I do it out of fear?

Do I draw near to God, because I fear God’s disapproval or
to sit under Jesus’ undue, but already-gifted approval?

To perform, due to fear of disapproval sounds like this:

– I must pray more.
– I really need to be more loving.
– I have to do my morning reading time.
– God won’t bless this.
– I will never meet his expectations of me.
– I will be less loved because of it.
– I am obligated to go to church.
– If I mess up, severe punishment awaits.
– I am a bad Christian.

God will punish

I feel these ways sometimes, friends. I fear God will want to disown me because I haven’t paid the right Christian dues. I haven’t paid the piper enough. It is a horrible way to live; it serves the wrong kind of daddy – an impatient, punishing and demanding one.

“Pat the bible. Pat the bible – or you will get a con. se. quence.”

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalm 145:8)

God knows I sin. God knows, even my good acts are bad (Is. 64:6).

I know it too; this is my fear. I look at my heart, it strays. I look at my mind, it doubts. I look at my ways, they reek of impatience.

God, do you hate me for the ways I hate myself?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 Jo. 4:18)

With gentleness, these words remind me, He waits for me – not like a jailer, but like a releaser, with the key. He’s ready to fling wide the gates of outpouring love as I truly draw near to his heart. To get there, I have to find myself sitting under grace.

To sit under undue approval sounds like this:

I am sorry, God. Thank you that you still love me.
I don’t need to do anything, for it is only you that I need.
If I find your love, I will find my life.
I seek your Word, because I love your Words.
My best is not good, but your good is all I need.
Your kindness leads to repentance, so walk me to it, God. (Ro. 2:4)
Thank you that you continue to love me, even though…

God will punish

The gentle truth is: God doesn’t look at our performance, he looks at our heart. He goes beyond curtains and stages and facades to get a look at the behind the scenes footage. Why not, let God in more?

Why not, lay down our shows?  Sure, we won’t rule the hows or the whens, but God will mold us in the reflection of his face of love and adoration.

Getting “Good with Grace” Prayer

God, I am not who I pretend to be. I want you to see me as a good girl. So often, I feel like a bad girl, though. Thank you that, with you, there is no need for masks and makeup. You want to see me as I am; I don’t scare you. You can handle my worst as I bring it to you. With this, I no longer want to cower before you, I want to kneel – arms-wide-open – and look into your face of love. I want that face of love to change me. I want to know there is no fear present in your love that will always flow towards me. I want to sit under the cross of Jesus, knowing that it shades me from your contempt. Help me stay there. You are the face of freedom. I thank you for Jesus.  I love you; may it prove genuine. Amen.

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Why “Easy” Will Hurt You

Easy Will Hurt

I remember when I first saw it. It glowed. It seemed to sparkle. It radiated as the sun touched it’s outsides. All I knew is I wanted it; I had to have it.

Nearly fresh out of high school, with only babysitting money to my name, the magnetic pull of this silver convertible seemed to draw me in. Silver on the outside and hot red on the inside, it would make my college days – easy. Or, so I thought.

I signed on the dotted line and then rode off with my hair flying wild down the highway to what I imagined would be wider smiles, lines of friends and feelings of happiness all around me.

It seemed easy. It felt free – for a moment.

But, free is not free, if you feel an object is the real impetus behind who you are destined to be.

I got glances at a light, but no real relationships in my life. I felt separated, dependent and strapped onto ten-year finance charges. What was supposed to drive me to happiness, was driving me into me into a career dragging debt. It didn’t seem so easy anymore.

What “easy” do you seek to quell the hard things in your life?

What easy do you run to in order to “deal”?

Collecting easy may feel free, but it often drives us right into a tin box with wheels called trapped, especially if God hasn’t authorized its purchase. Sure, we can collect things, and feel good in a moment, but here is the real deal: Love doesn’t hold up well on the shelf of shiny untouchables.

Love is meant to be handled, dispersed and outpoured. It is meant to get dirty and grimy. It is intended to bend a knee on the dirt to wash another’s feet. It is meant to pull close to sin and to address it tenderly. It is meant to be in service.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:14

Love is like Jesus. Love is like a benefactor that can’t stop giving. Love is like the best gift ever – with no price tag.

You can never scan it and bag it and show it off like that.
People aren’t attracted by it’s shine.
They are attracted to its authenticity,
within you and me,
the Spirit making his way – out.

Yet, there is one thing we do have right,
we desperately need it.

Our clawing hunt will continue if we look for it in things,
for things are just illusions that hide our eyes from Him –
God.
Enduring peace.
Everlasting joy.
Encompassing love.

So, let’s keep our eyes fixed there, and, perhaps, we will get somewhere. Perhaps, then, rather than feeling like,“God, why have you abandoned me to this?,” we will feel like, “God, wow, I never knew life could be so full of this.”

Then, we will collect moments of fullness that could only be orchestrated by a God of greatness. We will kneel down and praise him. Our hearts will feel full.

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Sparkling Bright for Christ

Sparkling Bright for Christ

Do you have the sparkle?

It’s the shine of more. It’s the clean of perfect. It’s togetherness and wholeness.

It looks nothing like me.

I look like tiredness personified.
I look like worry building upon worry.
I look like one who tries to trust – but still doubts.
I look like a battlefield where godliness goes up against selfishness.
I look like a girl trying to fit herself into mold “good mom.”

That’s me. Not so shiny. Not very sparkly. Hardly.

It feels hard to keep the glimmer of Christ existent amidst the grime of this life.

But, what if glimmer was not me – or you? What if the pressure was off? What if glimmer was just a matter of letting God’s light bust through our darkness? 

What would that look like?

God’s glory is always found within our tension points (Romans 5:3). It is a hard thing to consider, isn’t it? Usually, we run from these places, thinking they spots sent to inflict pain. Little do we know that sometimes, these exact spots, when pushed are what are going to deliver us to freedom – and to greater mobility to reach the world.

Where we feel pressed, God is working things out, so one day, we land at – blessed.

We shimmer. We shine. We find glory!

Do we believe it is possible?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces
(Romans 5:3)

When great joy emerges out of great struggle, people notice. Glory!
When peace is found over hardship. Glory!
When God grants unspeakable calm in the midst of doggone electricity storm. Glory!
When insight speaks into an impossible situation. Glory!
Glimmer! Sparkle! Shine! Power! Light unquenchable.

When we endure and then endure and then say, “No matter what Heaven awaits!” Glory!

We can lean into pain, knowing that God, by his very nature,will always use it – for spiritual gain. In that we can trust.

Is it hard? Yes. Impossible. No.

It is not, because it is also a work of the Holy Spirit – he makes you go about all Tigger-style, abounding in hope (Romans 5:13).

Hope is:
Seeing Jesus constructing mission out of our pain.

Imagining people changed after relational turbulence.
Standing on God’s masterplan rather than our personal ones.
Believing that God really is at work to make us into Christ’s image.
Going beyond self, to reach the nations. 
Thanking God for the new thing he is building in us.
Understanding the cross and all the pain that came with it. 
Looking at the captives and depressives and wanting to love them.
Getting a feeling that we have to pass around. 
Knowing we found home and longing for the fullness of it to come.

Hope. It is all you need to sparkle, no matter how you feel. Nothing can steal it. No one can rob it of you. It is a knowledge you’ll be blessed, even if you straight up land at heaven’s gates.

Let it sing in you. Let it rise from you. Walk in its fullness and feel its freedom – then hand it out to all you meet.

“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 5:13

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Take Off from “Blah” to Blazing New Heights

Blazing New Heights

I know, I know, this is going to sound weird. I am infatuated with the whole idea of airplane take-offs. Always have been.

I feel the rumblings of something new, the speed towards adventure and the call towards something greater.

I love it.

New places.
New people.
New encounters.
New opportunities.
New feelings.

Usually, as the plane rises, I know I am about ready to head to somewhere better.  The stress is off; I have no control over the speed, the timing and the path – it is all in the captain’s hands. It is a trusting kind of thing; I know he will do his job.

I wonder though, why day-by-day I don’t rise with this same sort of
eager expectation towards life?

What really makes it any different?

I could wake excited.
Knowing God will send me.

I could look expectantly.
Believing God will lead me.

I could anticipate.
Seeing life from the heights new opportunities.

I could be willing.
Letting in feelings of purpose and passion, all the while – nodding yes.

All vision of my end destination belongs to him. All the controls are in his hands.

Why not let go?

We need no plans, except to be with him. He steers, we fly. He leads, we end up at the good works he has already designed for us.

If we have expectancy,
we won’t be prone to live complacency.

We see new journeys.
New heights.
New views.
New callings.
New pressures that he alone manages.

And right in the center of it all is our chosen seat. The one that allows us to enjoy the heights of his glory, the sprawling colors of his ownership and the gentle covering of his clouds.

So we go. We let go. We move. We explore. We adventure.

Tomorrow, let the morning alarm goes off. But, take a new look at your new day. Let expectations rise and – fly.

Will you join us?
Sure, there may be turbulence,
but rest assured there will be magnificence too.

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Define • er • ed •ism•able •est •ly

By Jami Amerine

This is my word. Defineredismableestly. Granted, I made it up. And granted, it is slightly ridiculous.  But let me explain. I am at a crossroad; another adoption, another child launching, a new career in the making.  We all come to them, repeatedly.  For example, when I got married. I was no longer only defined as Don and Glenna’s daughter, I was now Justin’s wife. Later I became Maggie, John, Luke, Sophie, Sam, and Charlie’s mom. Grad student, blogger, Catholic, displaced Catholic, Spin instructor, injured Spin instructor, Chronically ill. Then, I became a foster mom and adoptive mom.  I have been defined, redefined and undefined.  I have added prefixes, suffixes and then, deleted and added again.

A woman on Twitter started following me the other day.  I clicked on her profile to see who she was and this is what it said: Overweight, widowed, divorced, childless, unhappy, atheist. Working as a secretary for an arrogant windbag attorney. Living in a cramped apartment with a grumpy cat, two fish, and my dying mother.  Follow me. 

Hmm.

Click.

Follow.

Cause I respect the honesty, and I commit to pray for her.

I haven’t heard much else out of her. Although every time I get on Twitter I click on her profile to see if any of her adjectives have changed.  They haven’t. Aside from some funny cat memes and derogatory comments about Christians, these definitions are all that I am left with in my assessment. And I could pity or judge her, but she could pity and judge me.  And if I was asked to write a profile for myself similar to hers what would it look like? What defines me?

Simply stated?  Tall, busty, married, blonde, 7 kids at the moment, happily seeking Jesus Christ. Stay at home mom, author, in love with my husband. Living in a large home with large family, two dogs, lots of laughter. Follow me.

And it does sound a bit more fanciful and bright. Well, I would have rather typed tall and rail thin, but that’s not the point.  The point is the definitions we take on and the definitions we portray as truths of ourselves can both explain us or cripple us.  And I wouldn’t want to represent myself to the masses as a complete failure or mess, and I certainly wouldn’t want to do that and preface or conclude with “Christ-seeker.”

There is both the societal and self-imposed assumption that I am better than or whole if I am a follower of Christ. And as Christians, we believe our souls are better off – as human beings we know the definition of Christian doesn’t crown us the definition “flawless.”

So maybe I followed this brutally honest and seemingly dark woman because I envied her rawness. And, I want to be frank, and raw.  I recently ripped the Jesus fish off my van. Not to deny my Christ, but because I am a distracted driver and you can’t judge a Christian by their inability to maneuver a 12 passenger van.  I honestly don’t want to portray Christians as lousy drivers.

The things that adorn my profile or my biography on my blog are definitions of the human Jami. The feathers in my cap or the bumper stickers on my van don’t convey the profound truths of what it means to be wholly seeking Jesus. At first glance, you might define me as funny, lighthearted, sweet, fanciful, vain, and bouncy. From inside my head I am a one-woman circus – desperately seeking Jesus.

And that is the most relevant definition of being me.  My general identity can be found in excerpts on websites. My husband and children could give you a quick run-down of singular adjectives that would give you a universal idea of who I am.  My parents and my siblings have an adjective or two. I have friends who think I rock. I have enemies that think otherwise. And I get down and can rip myself to shreds. Or, I can drop a couple pounds, get a syndicated post, and make a perfect pot roast and think I am the “grandiestly” momma on the block.

But all that fades without my Jesus.  What I must remember and what I must cling to is my identity in Christ.  This character never changes. No matter the number of children under my roof, the size tag on my jeans, the rejection letters in my inbox, for that matter, the acceptance letters either. My identity in Christ is an unchanging description. I strive to be better, and I ache to please Him – and He consistently loves a fearless, grand, unending, boundless, undefinable, indescribable perfect love.

He sees me as infinitely – HIS.  Maybe that is what I’ll change my Twitter profile to read, just: HIS.

For in Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 

And in Christ, you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Col. 2:9-10

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

6 Reasons Why You Can Now Wait Well

Wait Well

Have you ever considered that life is just made up of a series of waits?

You wait to get through school.
You wait to find a spouse.
You wait to hear back from that job.
You wait to know if it is cancer.
You wait to see if your dreams ever will come true.
You wait with hope that a person might do something differently.
You wait and wonder if you will be rejected again.
You wait to go to heaven.
You wait and then you wait some more, nearly agonizing over every moment.

Waiting feels like grueling torture. It feels like a good God went into hiding. It feels like waiting for a hand-out from one who may not. It feels like doors shut. It feels like mountains unscalable. It feels uncertain. It feels like agony. It feels like…if-I-have-to-go-through-this-one-more-time-I-am-gonna…!

Why does a good God torture us?

Even more, why does he seem to love every minute of it?!

Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually. Hos. 12:6

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Ps. 27:14

Wait. He says. Wait again, he says. Wait well. Wait with courage. Wait with strength.

God knows something, we don’t often consider: Waiting is our wrestling ground with faith. It is here, where a believer gets on the mat, dukes it out and gets down to the heart of the situation, “Will I really believe?” 

It is here where one rises up in victory, arms to the sky,
saying, “He is good. He has me. I trust” or
where they fall to the ground saying, “Curse God and die.”

Which way to do things tend to play out in your life?

Do you rise to trust a working God or do you fall
to your own strategies, plans, executions and wounds? 

God is not preparing us for nothing, he is preparing us for his everything.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me. Mi. 7:7

The more we need God, the more we call on God. 
The more we call on God, the more we lean on God.
The more we lean on God, the more we find God. 
The more we find God, the more we rejoice in his greater gift.

We start to explode with greater vision. It transcends just the here and now, but it reaches out a hand to eternity to clip it and draw it near.

Things like this happen to waiters who are also trusters:

1. They want outta here! They rely on the eternal joy that sits just over the finish line called life.
…even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23

2. They end up hoping in the right thing, rather than their demanded thing.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. Ps. 39:7

3. They sit and see that the Lord is always fighting for them.
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. Ps. 33:20

4. They see God doesn’t give them their best answers, but his.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Ps. 19:21

5. They look back and see, that far beyond what they wanted, was what God wanted. They see that they look a whole bunch more like Jesus.
…knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope… Romans 5:4

6. All of a sudden they see God’s huge dump truck show up. It backs up and unloads, dumping in far greater weights of love than they ever expected.
…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:4

Are you a waiter and a truster or a hater and agonizer? Lean in. Lay back. Let go. Find hope. Great hope. Life-breathing hope…

Hope is waiting and believing – God will.
Hope is knowing he is able – and we are not.
Hope is calling out in prayer and believing.
Hope is knowing God is above our situation rather than smothered and struggling under it.
Hope is knowing his best plan is above ours.
Hope is knowing his nature sees and cares.
Hope is standing confident his timing could not be better.
Hope is moving forward with joy.
Hope is finding peace.
Hope is leaning back and laying down into God’s love.
Hope is not listening to outside voices, but Jesus’.
Hope is not devising and strategizing.
Hope is the greater expectation of God’s exaltation in our lives.
Hope is the grain of longing for that greater thing he’s doing.
Hope is seeing past feelings to the very being of Jesus that is being formed in us.

..those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is. 40:31

That is hope; it is otherwise known as “waiting and believing well.”

May we do it.

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Circus Slaves, The Show & Cutting The Music

Circus Slaves

Circus Slaves

Have you heard of circus slaves? It sounds odd, I know. But, it is a horrible and very real thing.
Imagine the music. The applause. The fanfare.

circus

Children are led in, smiles taped on. A woman grips a rope with her teeth and spin herself around. An odd one, a short one and, perhaps, a misfit one, under age 10, contort themselves on stage. In India, they’re trapped. Perhaps, beaten. The rings, nor the stakes to perform, couldn’t be higher.

Deep calloused pain sits heavy for circus slaves.

The Show Goes On

I sat in megachurch, thinking, “Maybe the Pastor will notice me.” 
Maybe he’ll look over and say, “That one. I want to meet her. She’s something special.”

I tried extra hard, declaring, “The harder you work, the bigger you rise and the better the chance of going noticed and getting ahead.”

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I sat blogging,  praying, “If only (insert big name here) would help me. If I had her endorsement on my book that would mean everything. It would get my message where I only dreamed it could go.”

I sashayed as a child, planning, “I’ll sing. I’ll sing and dance. Surely they’ll see and adore me.”

Cutting the Music

There’s this pull for me to enter the grand tent of the circus–flying colors, flips and all.

Do you feel it too?

It’s an invitation to wow the crowds, to stand tall and to swing above the fray – up to the places where a platform is set just for you.

It’s the call to rise to greater heights. Do you know it?

It lures us with the thoughts like:  I have to meet certain numbers. I have to appease publishers. I have to be the best dressed mom. I have to drive that car. I have to do as good as that person.

It plays out in our lives like: Checking in on where others are. Keeping an eye focused on the crowds. Getting consumed with self-tactics. Filling yourself up with either pride or self defeat.

After many shows, a girl gets tired of the big show. She starts to see that the tent really is full of hot air and it always falls down at days end.

The floodlights nearly blind me with truth: When we look for man to see or save us, we miss how God does. We miss God all together. And, if Jesus isn’t there, what’s there — is slavery. 

“For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
 Galatians 5:1

A girl stands there. A girl who realizes, “I am not performing, I’m just enslaving and depraving myself from God’s very best.”

She looks left and right and sees the others who are enslaved and depraved just like her. She sees ones trying and fighting, pining and clawing, hoping and dreaming to maybe be seen. Not all, but some, and her heart breaks for her fellow playmates who have been forced into hard labor, by themselves.

She calls out to them,
“Let’s sneak outta here. I know the secret for us circus slaves,
want to hear it? It is the words of Jesus. . .”

“But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.” Luke 14:10

Take the lower seat.
Sit down.
Serve.
Love.
Know Christ.
Let him recognize you.

When we sit with the other unseen and uncared for, we suddenly find that we are seen and cared for. We find that Jesus recognizes us, calls us friend and invites us to dine in his “best place.”

What could be better than that? It is called being freed to dine and delight in God. It is called your place to spin, sing, dance–a place where Christ sees and loves your every move made just for him.

circus

Is Jesus inviting you there too?

Take the lower seat– that ends up being called the honored seat. It looks nothing like a flashy tent called slavery, because it is much more a heavenly seat called sitting right with Christ (Eph. 2:6).

Let’s go ladies, let’s go. Let’s go and remember it is not about how high we can rise, but really about how low we can go in service to Christ.

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Do You See the Beauty?

see beauty thanks contentment

Post By: Angela Parlin

The way we view our lives changes things.

I’m beginning to believe that the way we choose to see the circumstances of our lives is the big point.

Sometimes my vision is clouded with things I don’t enjoy about my current situation. When I’m focused on the problems I face, there’s little room in my heart to see the good. Instead, I’m chronically unhappy with the way things are.

Can you relate?

Other times, my eyes are full of what I think I need to improve upon everywhere I look, and then I fall into perpetual striving. I seek to make my life something better, and I miss the beauty of what’s already in front of me.

I’m talking about contentment, a way of seeing our lives with thankful eyes.

The way we see determines how we’ll experience our days. So how is your vision today? How do you choose to see?

Years ago, I named my blog, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos. God was teaching me then that His beauty is always around me. Even in the chaos that sometimes happens at home with the kids, even in the trials, even in my disappointment, He has planted so much beauty.

My job is to choose to see the beauty. My part is to call it out and thank Him.

I’ve struggled many times to see the beauty in my life when chaos crowds it out, and so I started naming the beauty whenever I could see it. I started to look for it.

~The way God met me there in that trial, the way He comforted me.

~The beauty inside the people He placed in my life for me to love, and the ways they love me back.

~The truth He speaks straight to my heart from His Word day after day.

~The sky and the birds and the rest of His incredibly gorgeous world which surrounds me.

I’ve learned the beauty goes on and on and on.

I’ve learned there’s always more, because I find it whenever I choose to look.

But sometimes I still return to my critical eyes, to my critical heart. Sometimes the details of life overwhelm me, and I find myself right back in that ugly, bitter place, where I have a really hard time seeing the good. Sometimes I wake up and it’s cold and I’m tired of doing the same old things another day, and maybe it’s just that I woke on the wrong side of the bed, but I’m just not happy with the way things are. I’m just not satisfied.

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need God’s vision–to see great things He’s already done.

To see all the beauty He’s planted between the rows of my chaos, in the middle of every day.

Where will you choose to see the beauty God has planted in your life today?

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

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Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.