Christian, Christian Blog, God, Jesus

Discovering God in the Ordinary

It was after my husband passed and the reality of our need to move to the next town began to quicken.  You see my son had just finished fifth grade at the Catholic elementary school he attended, with all of his friends living close by.  We on the other hand lived in the next town over and he would not be going to the same middle school as his friends were. 

There was also a desire to move away from the home with ten years of memories.  This is where I saw God show up in my ordinary; within two weeks of starting a search in the new town for a rental home we found the perfect one.  It was only one or two miles from both of the kid’s schools, there were friends nearby, and we could move in right away!  That was God looking out for a mother in need. 

The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “God in the Ordinary” with host Sharon Tedford and her guest Keith King.  Keith has degrees in theology and spent many years helping to lead churches in the south of England.  In 2015 he ‘retired’ from paid pastoral ministry and focused more on equipping Global Church leaders to be missional ambassadors for Christ.  (Cited from Langley Institute of Ministry website).  He is the founder and leader of the Langley Institute of Ministry, which exists to train leaders in Africa, India, Pakistan & Nepal for ministry within the church and the world. 

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.  Isaiah 61:1

This is Keith’s backstory and it is the crux of how he began his ministry career.  He grew up in a home that did not expose him to Jesus and he was wild and free in his teen years.

“I started my own business at the age of 17 and I started knocking on doors and asking them if I could deliver my paraffins, and I got a contract with a local paraffin company. The interesting thing, one of my customers was a born-again Christian, and she went on and on and on about this Jesus. It wasn’t just a religious character at all, he was a person that loved me and wanted to get to know me, and suddenly I discovered that he died on the cross for me to take away all my sin and guilt. That was really good news. She’d witnessed to me every week for three years, and I came to the point where I took her up on an offer.  She said come to my house this next Tuesday, we’re hearing a testimony of a young man who went to college, he took all the sorts of stuff and yet he turned his life over to Jesus.  At the end of that evening, I was just totally gob smacked because it was as though he was talking about my life and I simply said a prayer at the end. I said, Lord Jesus, if all this stuff is true, I need to know this and I invite you to come into my life and be my Savior and be my friend, come and cleanse all this garbage from me, because I need to make a fresh start.”

Keith had a long pastoral calling in England and then decided to retire but God had other plans for him.  “I served the church for 37 years, when he called me to go to the Baptist Church, we had over 30 missionaries, serving God in various parts of the world. I was particularly interested in visiting Africa. I worked with New Life, to minister to orphan children, we took over 30 children off the streets. We constructed an orphanage, through the school.  I began to visit them every year and give them free theological training and this was the beginning of me sensing the tremendous need many of these pastors were intelligent and inspired wonderfully effective in communicating.”  Keith woke up to the need of training for those in ministry in parts of the world where they did not have access to it or could not afford ministry courses.  This was the beginning of Langley Institute of Ministry. 

Sharon pulls the entire interview together with this statement “I love that story, that it started off with witnessing to one man. Absolutely that is very ordinary, often we hear about people who are witnessing the hundreds of people and we say, oh, I can’t do that but every one of us can talk to one person, and then let God do the rest.”  Such truth and power in that! 

If you listen to the entire podcast, you will hear Keith speak of many other inspiring stories, including his own God in the ordinary experiences.  He also explains exactly how the Langley Institute of Ministry began. It is a good podcast and you definitely see God’s hand in Keith’s life. 

These are Keith’s closing words.  “God is a good news God because he loves every one of us, stop thinking that you’re not good enough, or even that you’re too good. None of these things are true, none of us are too bad. He loves us, he is a God of grace, and none of us are too good. Actually, we all fall short of discernment.  I believe that deep down, every one of us know that we need a helper, we know that we need forgiveness and cleansing. So please, you know God is a breath away. You can pray to him right now.”

Friends I have some bittersweet news, God has called me back into serving on staff at our local church.  The role is Director of Adult Discipleship and I get to help grow and give vision to their small groups and bring people into closer relationship with God.  I adore small groups; they are the instruments that help build our relationships with those in the group and with God.  Since I will be starting this soon, I will no longer be able to write podcast reviews.  Don’t worry I will occasionally write a short Five-Minute Friday post, so keep looking for those. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

I would love it if you would pray for my new ministry opportunity and please leave me a comment on where you are seeing God in your life today!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you for your support and kind words.  May God continue to bless you and your families as you continue to look for him in your everyday lives. 

God in the Ordinary podcast with Sharon Tedford and guest Keith King

Langley Institute of Ministry

Follow Sharon on Instagram

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Christian, Christian Blog, Comparison, God, Jesus

Who are you Comparing Yourself to?

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Ever find yourself comparing what you do/own/look like to someone else? It is easy to do in our advanced technology, social media world we live in. Just open a browser to see where the latest celebrity has vacationed or better yet open Instagram and see what your friends and family are doing. Cousin Jenn is on this great diet and has lost 30 pounds, Aunt Melissa is raving about how wonderful her husband is; then wishing you could lose that weight or have a better marriage?

As Christians we are called to not be jealous (or covet) what our neighbor has but in reality, it is something we all have to be deliberate about. How many minutes or hours do you spend on the internet or scrolling? How much of that is productive, for work or for your spirit? I find myself having to reel in the amount of time I scroll for both my mental and spiritual wellbeing.

The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “Love and Relationships Podcast with Debra Fileta: Avoiding the Comparison Trap with guest Jamie Ivey.” Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, she’s also an author and podcast host. Jamie is a talk show host, author, speaker, and podcast host of “The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.”

Jamie begins talking about how we compare ourselves to others through social media. “We can get this snapshot of what they have right now that you don’t have. This goes all the way back to the garden, Adam and Eve. Eve was comparing what Satan was telling her about how her wisdom was different than God’s. So, she’s already going, wait, I’m not getting what I deserve. I think that is what a lot of comparison is, we think I deserve more, this isn’t fair, I don’t have what I should have.”

Jamie gives an excellent example that mothers can relate to. “I remember as a young mom, really struggling with comparison. I’m not doing enough, or I should be doing this or look at my kid they’re not even doing milestones that they should be doing; as if I can control their milestones.” It can be challenging not to compare your children and how you raise them to those around you. But God made you to be the mom of your kids, with all of your gifts and talents to raise them, not so you can try to be like your next-door neighbor.

Debra provides a few practical steps on how to overcome or work around the comparison trap.

  1. “Limit your external influence because I think that what we’re taking in can really start to affect the state of our internal contentment. So, what are we downloading? What are we reviewing? What are we absorbing how many hours a day are we scrolling?
  2. Number two, is begin taking inventory of the internal dialogue. What are the thoughts I’m having about myself? I’m thinking, I’m not good enough; they’re better than me; they’re getting the blessings I’m not; God favors them and not me. All of those unhealthy thoughts.
  3. The third practical point is focus on what God has called you to do. Faithfulness, that’s exactly what it is. Because when you’re being faithful, the measuring stick is then you, you’re the measuring stick. And you measure yourself up against what God has called you to do. When my measuring stick is being faithful today with what God has called me to do all that other stuff fades away.”

How do you know if you are overcoming comparison? Debra states, “I actually think a good measuring stick of how healthy we are, the opposite of the comparison trap, is being able to cheer people on to truly want their best interest. To want to see them be faithful in what God has called them to do and say good job, you are killing it, I am so proud of you.”

Jamie reminds us that what we see on social media is only a snippet of that person’s life and for the most part it is only the good stuff. She states, “it’s just a reminder to me that looking at someone else’s life and wishing you had it is a false reality, because you don’t actually know their life.”

Here is the main take away from Debra, “I think the key here is this question, what is my measuring stick? Because when our measuring stick is other people, there is an emotional roller coaster that comes with that because one day we’re going to be on top and it’s going to feel amazing, and we’re comparing ourselves to all the little ones around us and we feel great. And the next day, we’re going to be far behind, there’s always somebody less than you, but there’s always somebody ahead of you.”

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2

This was a great podcast, rich with examples of how to intentionally avoid comparison. I would recommend listening to the entire show. They go into more detail around their own examples of comparison and fixing your eyes on Jesus!


Heartwarming story: Abebech Gobena led an incredible life: after escaping from a forced marriage as a child bride, Gobena went on to become a huge icon in Africa. In Ethiopia, she took her experiences and built an orphanage, schools, a hospital for women and children, vocational training centers and wells, and more. Ms. Gobena is frequently referred to as the “Mother Teresa of Africa.” You can read about Abebech here.

Love and Relationships Podcast with Debra Fileta and Jamie Ivey

Jamie’s new book “You be You: Why Satisfaction and Success Are Closer Than You Think”

Connect with Debra on Instagram and on Facebook

Connect with Jamie on Instagram and on Facebook

Connect with me on Instagram

Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, Jesus, racial justice

Is Racial Justice Connected to Faith?

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

The topic of racial injustice is one that weighs heavy on my heart and I’m committed to revisit this topic to continue learning and supporting those people of color in the community. 

Summer of 2020 I participated in a virtual racial healing small group through our church.  We used a workbook which brought us through several activities that revealed how you grew up, racial injustices you witnessed or were a part of, and how you responded to those events.  These events help shape our view and actions towards people of color. 

We also learned what white privilege is and how that can blind us from racial injustices.  The Very Well Mind website defines white privilege as “an advantage that protects white people against any form of discrimination related to their ethnicity and race.  White privilege, however, does not imply that white people have not or cannot experience challenges in life; it means that any challenges that a white person has faced or may face is not related to the color of their skin.”  This was an enlightening piece of information, something I had never heard in my 14 years of school.  Reflecting on my past verses friends of color and their history I could see this as a sad reality. 

The podcast I am reviewing this week is “The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey; her guest Jemar Tisby.”  Jemar is a Christian historian, podcast host, author and speaker whose goal is to propel Black Christians forward. Founder of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, a multimedia platform. Author of ‘How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice.’ He is also the co-host of the “Pass the Mic podcast.” 

Jemar explains how his passion for racial justice began.  “Everywhere I would go to speak or write about racial justice you always get that one question, what do we do, and that’s a great question.  It started six or seven years ago, I began developing this framework I call the arc of racial justice, and it stands for awareness, relationships, commitment.” 

Jemar talks a little about awareness and white privilege.  “So, I call this racial justice practice, I call it writing your own racial autobiography, and I mean there’s so much that goes into it, we just have these unexplored inner lives when it comes to race, especially white people because the way white supremacy works is that it thrives on invisibility. That means everyone else has a race or his race, but you as a white person you’re just you. Right, you’re just John or Mark or Susie, and you maneuver life and whatever happens to you is because of who you are and what you’ve done it has nothing to do with your skin color or how the society has structured itself around race, that’s what white supremacy tries to tell you, that means you go about life and have these experiences and you don’t look at it through a racial lens, even though you’re experiencing it through a racialized society right.  It is a very necessary practice on the part of the majority to stop and say, what is my earliest memory of race? Have you ever used a racial epithet? What did my parents teach me about race, when this big racial event happened in the world what did my church say or do?”

Jamie poses this question:  “So talk about that a little bit for the person who’s going, Okay, this is great Mr. Jemar but this is for somebody else.”

Jemar’s response, “So, it’s not enough to be not racist, you have to be actively anti-racist because the inertia of society is toward racism is toward white supremacy.  If I’m not mean to other people, if some of my best friends are black, if I’m nice across the racial and ethnic spectrum, quote, unquote, I’m not a racist, okay, I say great keep doing that. So now go the other direction.  So, what we have to do is think on a broader scale, what actually brings equity.  For instance, abolishing the death penalty, since 1973, 165 people have been found innocent, who’ve been sentenced to death row. 42% of people on death row are black, even though we make up only 13% of the population. I think part of the reason why we’re still talking about racial justice today is because so many people have that attitude is how does this affect me?”

Let’s dig into how this is biblically connected.  Jemar points out:  “Number one, it matters to Jesus, because justice matters to Jesus, I spent a good bit of time in the first few chapters of the book talking about the image of God. What does it say in the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible, God says, let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness? Every single person has a fingerprint of God on them and that matters, of course, for racial and ethnic relations.  So, it matters to Jesus. So, if you’re a Christian, it should matter to you. Secondly, the world is changing, whatever is true now is not necessarily going to be true in the future. Already. The younger generations are majority minority. They’re not the minority anymore. So. in 2040- 2050 window, when there’s going to be that tipping point where there’s not going to be one clear majority of any racial or ethnic group that’s already happening with the younger generation. How are they going to be equipped?”

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”  James 1:2

Jemar talks about how his book will help educate you into action. “The book is all about moving from conversation to action. When I say practical, I mean, practical. Every single chapter has what I call racial justice practices, these are things that you can go out and do.  I encourage you to do it with a group, book, study, group, church, study, group. I cannot wait to hear about ways that people really put this into practice and are changing their communities changing their spaces for the better because they love God and they love their neighbor.”

This book is on my to read list.  I recommend listening to the entire podcast as Jemar speaks more about racial injustices throughout history and Jamie gives examples of where she has experienced white privilege. 

To answer the title question is racial justice connected to faith – the answer is yes. God has created us all in his image and wants us all to treat each other with kindness and love.  Part of that requires us understanding the history of our nation and how we treated people of color in the past and how it has led to systemic racism.  If you are white, there are ways for you to come along side people of color to support them and show the world they are not less than, they are equal, in our eyes and most importantly in God’s eyes. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:32

Thought you could use a laugh:

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and guest Jemar Tisby

Jemar’s book “How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice.”

Follow Jamie on Instagram

Follow Jemar on Instagram

Follow me on Instagram

Christian, Christian Blog, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Podcast

The Kingdom of God is Within You

Picture from Pexels

Today’s podcast I am reviewing is “The Next Right Thing, by Emily P. Freeman: Episode 154 Remembering Who You Are.” I realize I mention this every time I review her podcast but I adore listening to her. Her voice is smooth and light, it reminds me of listening to a grandmother read her grandchild a book or one of the meditation apps you can listen to relax your thoughts after a hectic day.

The motivation to review this podcast was more selfish than magnanimous. It is a topic I must review from time to time as I tend to be hard on my endeavors and question if I am doing what God is asking me at this time?

Emily begins the podcast stating “Today I want to talk about Jesus. I can’t talk about the importance of remembering who you are without talking about who I am. And to talk about who I am, I have to talk about Jesus.”

“I was taught as early as I can remember that the gospel is the plan of salvation. Jesus wants to live inside my heart.  It is not that this narrative is wrong but it is incomplete.   The gospel is not a step-by-step process on how people can get saved.  It is an announcement that the kingdom of God is real and Jesus is the King of that Kingdom.”

“What does that have to do with remembering who I am?  If the gospel is just a formula, then who I am is simply a formula keeper, a rule follower and a box checker.  But if the gospel is an announcement that the Kingdom of God is here now and not only here but within me then that changes everything.  I am not a formula keeper, I am a imager bearer.  Shaping our identity in Christ and determining how we live in his Kingdom.  The stories that we believe about God, ourselves, and the world will always determine how we live.”

Such truth in those words. How many times have you listened to a fire and brimstone sermon and thought that doesn’t sound like a loving God to me? Perhaps your view of the Kingdom of God within you shifts and instead of being a loving presents in you it becomes a harsh hard sentiment.

AW Tozer says that “what we believe about God is the most important thing about us.”  Emily states “If that is true then a true view of God will form our lives in Him and a false view of God will deform us away from Him.  Knowing who I am in light of who God is, might be the most important work I do.  As a parent, a friend a wife a writer a teacher a leader this is easy to say difficult to practice.”

“The most profound gift I can give to the people I serve is to honestly, humbly, and regularly practice exposing the false stories I carry and replacing them with the narrative of the God Jesus knows.  Scriptures says if we see Jesus then we have seen the Father.  If we want to know what God is like then look to Jesus.   The power by which we can know the Father and the Son is through the Holy Spirit living within us.  That is our triune God, three in one self, always exalting the other members.”

“We have a good and beautiful God who is filled with love for us. Discipleship is more than a quiet time, and the gospel is more than conversion. It is available life in the Kingdom of God and this is the narrative of how we should then live; as people in the Kingdom of God.  What does that mean in our daily lives, for our relationships, our morning routines, and that annoying person at work?”

“I want to continue to learn the delicate art of walking with Jesus into the lives of other people.  To gently untangle false narratives of God and to affirm true identity in Christ.  This is where true discipleship begins and continues.  Now that King Jesus has come and his Kingdom is here, we have a new choice, a new hope, a power alive within us.  We have been empowered to make God known to the world.  Does this make a difference in how you live?  In Christ you are fully accepted and  a completely loved image bearer and co-creator with him, working toward the renewal of all things.”

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30

I love how she focuses on the Kingdom of God within us and how our narrative of God shapes how we perceive God in our lives and literally in us. “What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.” A.W. Tozer. If we believe God loves us and know he is for us and never against us, then we can show that love to others. Without it we cannot emulate love to others and fulfill Christ’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Emily was very passionate about this topic, not that she isn’t on other topics, you could sense it was meaningful to her in the highs and lows of her voice. I recommend listing to the entire podcast.

What are those false narratives about God that you are carrying around? Do you believe you will be punished if you don’t pray every morning or every day for that matter? Does God look like a warden to you waiting for you to do something wrong? What is the shape of the Kingdom of God in you? If you feel moved, share your experience with us in the comments section.

I pray you have a wonderful week and keep pushing against those false narratives while sharing the love of Christ in you to those in your daily circle.

Inspiring article on how one woman in Ohio is helping underprivileged in her community with locally grown produce. Hometown Hero.

The Next Right Thing: Episode 154 Remembering Who You Are.

Emily P. Freeman’s website

Follow Emily on Instagram

Follow me on Instagram

Christian Blog, Faith, God, Jesus, prayer

Does God Hear Our Prayers?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The podcast I am reviewing this week is a fairly new one, it launched in January 2021. Courtney is the host and the name of the podcast is “Imperfectly Pollyanna: Episode #6 – Where is God When We Pray.” Courtney refers to herself as a Pollyanna;  a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything

Courtney speaks to you like your next door neighbor but gets right to the point. In this episode she provides a few examples of when she has witnessed God show up in her life and how prayers do not always get answered the way we think they will.

“This past week, the world lost an amazing man.  His name was Carman (Carmelo Domenic Licciardello). After a weird year of 2020, imagine the surprise of our tiny church when we were asked to host this legend!  We questioned our ability to make it happen, even had questions on it being wise during the current events.  Yet, there we were”. 

“Carmen’s booking agent reached out to my mother and stated Carmen was touring and wanted to minister in churches throughout the country.  He asked if our church would be open to host him.  My mom was very polite in her southern charm and said while it was an honor to be asked but we are a very small church and did not have the capabilities to do something to that level.  She let him know that she was sure that there were other larger churches in the area that would love to host them.  He said he spoke to Carmen and he wanted to come to our church no matter the size.  It ended up we said yes.”

“Fast forward to January, Carmen had a routine operation, and then complications began happening.  People were praying for him and then he suddenly died the day before he was supposed to go home.  I hurt for his crew and the small churches, I hurt for the people who were inviting their loved ones to upcoming shows in hopes to bringing them closer to the Lord.  I am glad that the Lord saw our family and church worthy to host him.  I am glad for the friendships we made that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.  I am glad for the friends we had not seen in years.  We were able to sponsor two children from Child Fund.  Carmen supported and promoted Child Fund; he didn’t charge for you attend the show.  He offered an opportunity to love the children, to be part of something bigger than you.”

Courtney goes on to explain when she was a teenager, she loved the gospel singer named Michael English. He made some mistakes; one was so significant that he left the gospel singing world for several years.  At the time Courtney was struggling with her own faith.  “I was mourning the loss of my best friend and worrying over another friend who was running from God.  I prayed, for Michael English and my friend, I prayed, I prayed, and prayed some more.  I felt like my prayers just were not heard.  After all, if they were heard, surely God would have answered them.  Surely God cared enough about me and Ben to change hearts, right?”

This is how she saw God move in this situation. “I prayed that God would bring Michael back or my friend back.  I had an answer to a long-time prayer that happened at the National Quartet Convention. It wasn’t the place or time I thought it would be, and at the time I was doubting my prayers were even being heard, much less answered. I was wrong. Michael English was at the National Quartet Convention and he came up on stage and shared his story of redemption.   God knew what each person needed that day, even 17-year-old me.  He had always been listening, he just had a better plan, he had the perfect plan.  I am sure glad God sees the big picture, he knows what we need, when we need it, and how we need it.”

I liked this podcast, it is authentic and Courtney shows us how even when we do not feel qualified, empowered, or perfect for the job, God knows we are. All we have to do is turn it over to Him in prayer and then go on with our lives, to the next thing He is prompting us to do.

It is important to note that prayer doesn’t have to be an hour a day commitment. You can spend five or ten minutes in the morning or at night; better yet send up a word or two throughout the day. God wants that intimate relationship with all of His children and it is formed through prayer.

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“God’s command to ‘pray without ceasing’ is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.”
– John Wesley
Co-Founder of the Methodist Church

If you are wondering does hear our prayers – yes, He does. The ones that get answered are the ones that are part of His plan, His will. Which is beyond anything we can imagine.

The Lord is far from the wicked,
    but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29

Below are links to the podcast and I am also including a link to a prayer guide that I have found helpful. It is by Kelly R. Baker and there are many good resources within this one document.

Friends, I am thankful for your support. Please leave me a comment if there is anything I can be praying for you about.

Imperfectly Pollyanna: Episode 6 Where is God When We Pray

Child Fund Children’s Charity

Follow Courtney on Instagram

Prayer Guide: What Every Believer Needs to Know by Kelly R. Baker

Follow me on Instagram

Christian Blog, Five Minute Friday, Grieve, Hope, Jesus, Permission

Five Minute Friday: Permission to Grieve

Picture by Cottonbro on Pexels

We have permission to grieve, the past year, for all of the things we lost.  Time with family and friends, warm hugs and the sparkle in a friend’s eye when she sees you for the first time in almost a year.  Laughing over a meal, feeling that joy and connection that you can only obtain when in the presence of someone you truly love. 

We have permission to grieve the loss of a relationship, which could not traverse the chasm of political and social disparity.  The time spent in deep conversation about hopes and dreams for the future, for the love of our Savior and spreading love and the message on our hearts. 

We have permission to grieve and stand in solidarity with our African American and Asian American friends who have had a lifetime of violence and deleterious exploits this year.  We can weep with them, listen to their grief, and put an arm around them in love. 

God gave us emotions as a beautiful gift, to experience joys and love but with that comes sadness and sorrow.  We have permission to feel and hold both at the same time.

Jesus wept for his friends Lazarus and his sister Mary.  You have permission by our creator to feel those feelings of grief and cry, knowing He is there with you weeping, and He gives us hope that there will be joy again soon. 

When Jesus saw her weeping, …he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  “Come and see, Lord,” Jesus wept.  John 11:33-35

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Christian Blog, Five Minute Friday, Gentle, Good Friday, Jesus, sacrifice

Five Minute Friday: Gentle

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels

When my son was first born, I remember being afraid of hurting him.  He was so little, helpless, and needy.  My movements with him were very gentle and slow, laying him down to sleep, or walking from one room to the next, cradling his head so not to strain his neck, and watching every step I took so not to trip and jostle him.  As a parent the desire to protect your child never ceases. 

On this Good Friday the scripture that stood out to me was John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Not only did Mary have to witness her son being beaten with a flail, dragging his own cross up to Golgotha, and then hung on it to die.  How heavy was her heart, how many times did she think take me instead of him? Jesus felt her heartbreak and sorrow.  In the midst of His greatest weakness and pain, He gently said to her, John is now your son and will love and care for you as I would. 

I pray you can reflect during this Holy weekend, not only the great sacrifice Jesus gave for our salvation and redemption, but the sacrifice His mother made by being obedient to God’s call.  To carry, love, raise, and send out into the world a son that she would ultimately give up for the rest of us to live. 

Christian Blog, God, Hope, Jesus, Suffering

Finding Hope in the Suffering

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

What is suffering? Merriam-Webster.com (30 March 2021) defines it: the state or experience of one that suffers: to endure death, pain, or distress; to sustain a loss or damage; to be subject to a disability or a handicap. Hope: is to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true; to trust. As Christians we find our hope in God. 

It was June 2010 and my children were wrapping up their school years.  My son finishing up his elementary career, going from the small Catholic school he attended since 2nd grade, into the public middle school.  My daughter finishing up second grade at that same school she attended since kindergarten.  The news that their father suddenly passed away hit hard, it was like a sucker punch to the gut and took the wind right out of me.  Even though our relationship was not tangible, it was still difficult to fathom, and my children still needed their Dad. 

During the hardest storm I have ever been through I thought, how am I going to get through this?  I was grateful that my faith was strong and I prayed a lot but during that time I needed people more than I ever did.  At the time I didn’t realize how much my soul needed friends and family, I didn’t know what I needed, but God did.  He answered the prayers I did not know to pray. 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

The people God sent into my life were such gifts and blessings.  When I was at my lowest someone would call or text me and it would bolster my outlook for the day. They brought so many meals, took my children so I could have time to myself and the kids could have a distraction from the sorrow.  They helped me pack up the only home my children knew to move to the next town over.  It was such a gift and it gave me hope that things would get better.  God showed me there is hope in the people who answer His call to care for those who are suffering. 

And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:6

Leading into Easter I thought it would be appropriate to write on suffering.  This will be a two-part blog series on that topic.  The podcast I am reviewing this week has a very similar story line to mine.  The name of the podcast is “Depth with Jodi Rosser: Walk, Run, Soar.”  She is interviewing one of my favorite authors, Dorina Gilmore-Young, author, speaker, Bible teacher, and spoken word artist. 

Jodi asks Dorina, I know you shared that running was part of your healing in your grief. I’d love for you to share more about that.  Dorina’s reply, I will provide some context of my life, I moved to central California after college, I was a journalist.  I started attending a church and met my husband Ericlee.  He had a connection to Haiti; his grandparents were pioneer missionaries there.     He decided to put on a mission trip to Haiti which I also attended.  When we came home, we started to date, were engaged the following summer in Haiti, and then married in 2003.  We had 3 daughters and started a non-profit in Haiti.  Then in 2014 my husband received a diagnosis of stage 4 melanoma cancer.  We had this momentum serving the Lord, he was very healthy, a runner and a triathlete.  His body deteriorated very quickly; in three short months Ericlee went to heaven. I found myself a widow at age 37 with three daughters, ages 2, 5, and 8.  Everything in my world fell apart.  It has been 6 years and God has done so much in my life to redeem me from that situation.  Running has been part of that therapy, just going and moving through grief.  I found that physical movement helped me to move through the emotional grief and even spiritual questions I had.  When I ran, I would ask those questions of God and He could handle them.  You never get over the grief but the running helped me to move forward.

Jodi goes on to speak about another chapter from Dorina’s book “Walk, Run, Soar, called Traversing Life’s Trails”.  “You talk about how running a trail race is different than running a regular race.  When you are on the trails you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know what is ahead.  This seems so much like 2020, the uncertainty of what is coming.  Can you tell us what you learned from this trail run?”

Dorina states, I started trail running with a group of friends after my husband’s death.  Trail racing is different than a road race. Even if you know the trail in different seasons it will be different, the ground may be more wet or the grasses are higher or rocks in different places. I was running and reflecting on what God was teaching me on my grief journey.  As I was running, I couldn’t find the pace. I am going uphill and thinking about how life sometimes is uphill and hard, feel that strain on your muscles as you are climbing.  Toward the end of the race this woman in back of me says you  are running a great race, thanks for pacing me.  I turn around and quickly introduced myself. Then I realized she was trained by my husband and it was so neat how God had us meet on this trail.  She was encouraged by me pacing her and I was encouraged to meet her, someone who had a connection to my husband.  In life sometimes the thing that keeps us going is knowing someone is coming up behind us, kids, friends, and people we are mentoring just by our example.  That is what God reminded me on that day. 

I love how Dorina points out that our faith and how we live it out is a way of mentoring to those around us.  Reflecting our faith, shining the light of Jesus in our family and community.  When we are there for another person who is hurting, showing love to those who we don’t think deserve it, or just saying thank you for your hard work to the grocery store clerk.  This is being the hands and feet of Jesus. 

I want to thank all of my friends who were there for me during my most difficult time, walking out your calling from God.  Krista, Ellen, Marie, Karen, Jonna, Eileen, and my best friend who continues to be there for me today – Joan.  I cannot forget to mention my Mom Corinne; couldn’t have done it without you.  All of you are so dear to my heart and I will forever be grateful for the love and kindness you showed to me and my family!  I pray that you will continue to see the hope in walking out God’s calling, continue to listen to him speak and nudge you along the way. 

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11

There was so much more to this podcast that I could not include here.  I highly recommend you listen to it.  Also, Dorina has her own podcast called “Walk, Run, Soar”, it is the intersection of faith and running.  I will link to that and her book below. 

Praying for a reflective Good Friday and a joyful Easter morning for you and all of your families! God bless.

A little Easter fun: 

Depth podcast with Jodi Rosser; “Walk, Run, Soar. With Dorina Gilmore-Young” 

Dorina Gilmore-Young’s podcast “Walk, Run, Soar” 

Dorina Gilmore-Young’s Book “Walk, Run, Soar” 

Follow me on Instagram @thegodlypodreview

Follow me on Twitter @thegodlypodrev1

Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, Five Minute Friday, God, Jesus, Lent, Redeem

Five Minute Friday: Redeemable

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In the middle of creating my next blog post my daughter announces, “Mom, you won’t believe how much money I saved on this skateboard using a promo code!”  My next question was, when did you decide to get a skateboard and are you also purchasing a helmet, wrist, and knee pads too?  Of course, she did but as a Mom it is my duty to ask. 

Promotional codes have taken the place of physical coupons on line.  I remember when you could only redeem a coupon by brining it into the store and presenting to the cashier at the time of purchase.  There were times when I could not redeem the coupon since it required me to buy two of the same items. 

When I hear the word redeem it takes my mind to whom has redeemed me. The questions swirl around in my head am I worthy of being redeemed?  We have been saved by grace through faith, which is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8. That gift is not one I would ever want to return.  It is one that I am thankful I can redeem for the rest of my earthly life.  For when I fail all I need to do is go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and it is granted.  

The things of this world will come and go but our eternal salvation has been bought and paid for by Jesus.  During this Lenten season let us not forget the sacrifice Jesus gave which grants us full redemption and eternal salvation. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

Christian, Christian Blog, Faith, Intention, Jesus, Podcast, Word of the year

What are Your Intentions for 2021?

Picture by Anna Shvets

In January I posted on “How Can One Word Keep You Faithful?” In that post I mention each January I prayerfully consider a word for that year to focus on.  This year my word is love, to show more love toward others, and to listen more intentionally.  Recently I have noticed that I need to show myself a little more love. 

As women, and I know I am generalizing here, we lean toward caring for others before we take care of ourselves.  It may be the way God made us, to be nurturing, or it’s just your enneagram number (or not).  All of the twos out there know what I mean! 

So, why am I going back to a similar topic?  First; if you selected a word for the year are you still being intentional and moving forward focusing on that word in a way that God intends for you?  This podcast will talk about centering on intentions.  Second; I like this podcast, the repartee these two ladies have will make you laugh. You can tell they are good friends and enjoy teasing each other.

The podcast I am reviewing this week is from January 7th, 2021, and it is called “Mary and Martha: Energy and Intentions”, the hosts are Shakisha Morgan and Christina Jones.  They describe the podcast as: “A podcast by two black women who love God; relatable women,  who talk about relevant topics.” 

In the beginning of the podcast both Shakisha and Christina mention a Mary or Martha moment they experienced over the past week.  Before we get into the meat of the intention’s topic, I want to recognize what Christina mentioned as her Mary moment – the rioting at the Capitol.  These are her words, “For me it was like taking a peek at the Tulsa riot, and seeing the anger and visceral that the white people had in that riot and seeing it play out in 2021.  This is how our ancestors felt, when they watched their family and friends get lynched.  This is that same energy, from the 1800 or early 1900s.  That to me it was scary that it still exists in such a palpable way.  It was terrible, horrible, and disgusting, but to me it was seeing a peek at history.  My Mary moment is allowing myself to reflect on my ancestors and my grandmothers, and great grandmothers, and how they must have felt when things like this happened to them in a very hyper local way.” 

I wanted to make sure I didn’t just gloss over this statement.  It is important and I hear you.   Another intention of mine this year is to not only listen more to those around me but to those who are different than me in the community and to understand their point of view. 

Christina begins speaking about intentions: “One of the things I wanted to do in 2021 was not to set resolutions.  It doesn’t work for me.  What I am big on now is intention setting.  A resolution, to me is more of goal setting, more tangible small things, and many times I don’t meet those goals.  If we set an intention for the year, something we want to walk in for the year.  It is something I can go back to and check myself to see if I am meeting those intentions. How we can walk in the intention that Christ has set in our lives, how we can walk in the spirit, how we can make sure our actions and reactions match the same energy that God has.”

An example would be, “your intention can be you want to be more in the present in 2021.”  Here are some ways Christina and Shakisha state you can work on setting an intention: 

  1. Where in your life are you not showing up for yourself?  Do not condemn yourself but you need to make this assessment so you know where you can begin to show up.  Being honest with yourself in this way allows God to show you how He can show up.
  2. What makes you feel like yourself?  Think back to the last time you felt alive, at peace, rested, and safe.  What was happening at that time?  Was I spending more alone time or more time with God?  Be honest with yourself; it is key to this exercise. 
  3. What has God been revealing to you?  God speaks in a quiet still voice, sometimes from others, scripture, or through your quiet time. 

Christina sums it up like this;  “What will make you really settle into your Christian identity, what makes you effective for the Kingdom?” 

Shakisa’s final statement is profound;  “Understand how important intentions can be, no matter what is going on around us.  We are still called to be Christian; we are still called to be disciples; we are still called to be the best version of ourselves with Christ at the center of it no matter what is going on around us.” 

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Having Christ at the center of our thoughts, in everything we do, will lead us to becoming more and more like Him.  It can and should be small steps.  I need to continue showing up for myself in relaxing ways and look for opportunities to study the word with other women.  What are your answers to the three questions Christina and Shakisa posed to us?  If you are willing to share, I would love to hear from you. 

A little Good Friday humor:

From Pinterist

Mary and Martha Podcast:  Energy and Intentions

Follow Christina and Shakisha on Instagram:  @shakishamorgan  @christinamichellejones

Follow me on Instagram:  @thegodlypodreview

Follow me on Twitter:  @thegodlypodrev1