Those who want the best

In a conversation while watching TV, my husband and I reflected over the death of the TV sitcom. Streaming has killed mainstream TV, and the idea of sitting down with kids to just watch a family TV show seems dead. Gone are the days of shows like Who’s the Boss, Family Matters, and Growing Pains.

Growing Pains…not just physical, but those emotional ills we go through when anything in life or relationships change. That’s what the show was all about.

It’s what life is all about. And throughout mine, I’ve had my fair share. Even well into my late 30’s and even as recently as a couple years ago. As just like the sitcom, Carol, Mike, and the others had the Seaver parents; and I had people who helped me, guided me, and truly wanted the best for me as I was growing through them. 

One is a colleague I look up to. I admire her and her professionalism. In a conversation this week, we were discussing some of the challenges for the new school year with staff changes; one of them being the previous week’s meeting that I had been asked to lead. The one that had not gone as planned. I told her how a few years ago I probably would have left that room crying, and cried about it for days; but these days I no longer take things that are not about me personally. Her response was unexpected. One I was not needing to hear for validation (though in the same years I would have needed that, too), but confirming in a way. 

“January, you are exactly right. You have grown so much. It’s been so awesome to watch you develop into such a great therapist, and a really strong leader.”

I was humbled. Coming from someone who five years ago, scared me to death…yes I was humbled.

And I said as much-that she used to scare me-because five years prior I had sat in her office as a resident in counseling with 2 years of overdue paperwork needing signatures. Having not attended any groups in the last three months, because I was meeting the requirements of everyone else around me, and not the path of the career I said I was passionate about. Her promise to never sign another overdue quarterly report after that date stuck with me, and I vowed to myself I would never turn in another one late. And I didn’t. I also never missed another group supervision. I made sure my placements knew those were monthly commitments I had to meet as part of my residency. She was right-I could have sat there and made excuses. I could have given up. But I didn’t. I owned it. Fixed it. And didn’t do it again.

Now…I’d like to say I never made another mistake I had to be held accountable for, but then I would also have to tell you I am superhuman, and I am not. I have had to own my junk. Fix it. And suffer some growing pains. And each time someone has been there who has truly wanted the best for me. Someone has had to show me the crack, the area needing growth, and push me to fix it.

And we hear that a lot: “I am telling you this because I want the best for you,” or “I wish you the best.” But does everyone? And how do you know the difference? Because there is a difference.

Here’s an illustration to help you: 

 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. John 21:15-17

Jesus gave Peter instructions and asked Him to serve Him, as He had been instructed to do previously. If you love me, you will go on serving as you have before; but you will change your behavior. 

Leaders, friends, loved ones who want the best for you-don’t hold your past missteps against you. Jesus didn’t do that to Peter. That colleague had not even remembered those reports-I had. She had just silently been watching me grow. 

Those who want the best may have to call out a fault. A blemish. May have to ask you to correct a mistake, or an area of growth, but they do so in gentleness, in love, and with the understanding that you have the opportunity to make it right, and even get better. It’s not to hold these wrongs over your head for later. They don’t yell at you, or shame you. Or keep them in their back pockets as ammunition to keep you from moving forward later.

Those who want the best SEE the best. Potential. And not just the products of your mistakes. They can’t wait for you to bloom into what you will become. They even want to help you do it.

Now, those who really don’t want what is best for you…but maybe for them? 

At first, they tell you the mistake is no big deal. You are forgiven. You have some time to make this right, and may even encourage you with a plan. But then it shifts.

They keep a record of your wrongs. Like receipts. Adding them up to list them each time you mess up. They remember that meeting 5 years ago, and won’t let you forget it. They even remember why you were there. 

They see a crack. And instead of gently talking to you about it; they expose it. With maneuvering of others in front of you and your gifts, desires, talents. They may even poke at it to expose the weakness more. 

Those who want what is best for them? They want competition. If you do happen to fix the crack? To move forward? Bloom? Grow? Despite the adversity? Don’t expect an ally. Expect the silent treatment. And an all out lack of support. These people may even just ghost you. 

These are the people who would have never went to Peter and asked him to feed their sheep, but would instead be talking to the sheep about Peter. Or would have already replaced Peter with a new first mate. 

You get it now? 

Those who want the best for you, sometimes don’t get to have the best conversations; because they are the ones willing to have the tough ones.

The ones that may cause pain, but instill growth.

The ones that may hurt a bit, but are necessary for change.

The ones that reveal cracks, but are crucial for repair.

These are the best. 

Don’t be afraid of those who challenge you. Because they are the ones who just may be conduits of your strongest growth. Those are the ones who want the best. 

It’s Time to Break-up…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

Yesterday, I mentioned a group of 3 girls. That group and their negative comments that had sucked the life out of me. Even in the midst of correction for their poor choices in words, there was an additional lesson in my encouragment to speak kindness to each other: Would you tolerate this negativity in a romantic relationship? If the boy you liked, or you were dating called you “fat, ugly, stupid, or crazy…” and then proceeded to tell you he was “just joking,” would you allow it? Or would you break-up with him?

Of course, their response? Kick him to the curb.

So, question for you: Why do we allow these terms to define us? Why do we allow Satan to creep in and tell us lies? Badger us with his emotional assault, and endless abuse? Isn’t it time to break-up with him, too?

Fear, you don’t own me
There ain’t no room in this story
And I ain’t got time for you
Telling me what I’m not
Like you know me, well guess what?
I know who I am
I know I’m strong
And I am free
Got my own identity
So fear, you will never be welcome here. (The Break-up
Song, Francesca Battistelli).

Fear. Lies. The devil’s tactic to keep you in a state of defeat. But the truth is…you can defeat the enemy. Paul mentions a strategy for battle in Ephesians 6, even mentioning who this enemy is.

We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:12-17, NLT

We have an enemy who feeds us nothing but lies about our worth and our purpose, our calling. And we know exactly how to break up with him. We CAN defeat him. With the belt of truth, and the sword of the Spirit, those things that God says are “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” about us in His Word. Remebering that God offers protection from the evil one simply because we are His. We just need to call on Him to help us fight the battle.

So we can finally break-up with that no good scroundrel…once and for all!

If you are ready to break-up with the devil, and conquer the lies he throws your way, join me for a 30 day exploration of the lies we believe, and the truth God reveals. The printable Bible reading plan includes daily Scripture, as well as a song you can add to your playlist, or sing along with in the car in praise for the truth God provides to you and about you. Truth that is able to conquer any lie.

You can also subscribe to the entire playlist on Spotify.

Don’t Believe the Lies

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

I have been vocal in past posts about my thoughts on, and my desire for boundaries when it comes to social media. In my last social media fast, I came to the realizaton that some of my thoughts may have even been extreme. Maybe even unhealthy. My use of social media is personal, and not everyone will go on the same journey, and it is through this perspective that I have developed some different views, and healthier personal usage.

One thing, however, has not changed-my views on that comment section.

We all wanna know we matter
We all wanna know we’re loved
More the same than we are different
Desperate just to be enough

But it’s like we’ve all forgotten
How much we’re all connected
When I read the comment section. -Sidewalk Prophets

This song, “The Comment Section,” is about the hurtful comments posted in the comment section by individuals behind a screen, and the descriptions throughout it are pretty accurate. What is even more discouraging, is that at times this type of commentary flows into our personal, and face-to-face conversations.

Case in point: I lead a monthly girls group. 3 girls. Supposedly friends working through a self-esteem exercise; but in this past week’s group, spending most of the time poking fun at each other, and spewing hurtful comments about each other’s features, bodies, and minds. “Fat, ugly, dumb.” After more than an hour of this, the life had been sucked out of me. The hurtful back and forth banter disguised as “joking,” wrecked my spirit, and I carried it with me into the weekend. Why is this language among each other acceptable? Why do we poke fun to have fun? Why do we desire to hurt each other? Over time, whether read or heard-these comments leave scars no one can see. Doubts that carry on long after words have been spoken.

With each comment and verbal slur of judgment, we begin to believe all the lies said about us. That interaction in group was only a part of the onslaught of lies Satan threw at me throughout that week. All due to triggers that were reminders of my past. A reminder of an older name that had me believing divorced women truly were not fit to pastor. An email that was a reminder of all the past events that made me feel unworthy and unqualified. The consistent “uglies, fats” and everything else I heard on that day was the last straw.

I refuse to let Satan continue to throw lies at me. I refuse to let the own comment section I allow to scroll in my head define me.

I struggled with what topic to focus on this month. With whether to even do a monthly reading plan. With May holding space for Mother’s Day, themes of parenting or being a mother seemed to fit; however, not everyone fits this description. Yet, this very moment in life-motherhood; it can fill us with so many inadequcies. We have so many doubts about our abilities, and we tend to compare ourselves with so many others. Thinking they have it all right, and we have it all wrong.

But, it’s all lies. We tend to believe so many lies.

This month, we will be defeating those lies. The lies we believe about ourselves (and even others) because of the world’s vision that we all comform to one ideal. The lies that tell us we need to be a certain way, parent a certain way, or anything else a certain way to be approved. Through Scripture and song, we will discover the truth the world often shuts out, if you only read the comment section.

Because here is the truth: God has made us good, pleasing, and perfect, among so many other things. It is time we believe this, instead of all the lies the devil may feed us.

Be sure to visit tomorrow for a copy of the newest 30 day Bible reading plan, with a link to the playlist of each song, so you can also listen to truth all month long!

You are the pearl

“June? You were born in June? Then why did your parents name you January?”

It is a question I have gotten a lot. I know the answer. Sometimes I take the time to provide it. Other times I don’t.

It has also taken me a number of years to embrace the name myself. To even embrace the person God has shaped me to be. Too many years. Too many hurts. Dark, twisty turns can often lead us to the place where we finally begin to see ourselves in the ways we were meant to be seen all along. It’s eye-opening. It’s liberating. It’s freeing. But it’s a nerve-wracking, heart-wrenching, soul-searching journey.

Sometimes it even means just owning your name. Owning your birthright. Owning the circumstances of your birth, and the suffering, darkness, and grit that have made you who you are.

Which is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that January is the first month of the year.  A month representing new beginnings. That the name January is derived from the name of the Roman god, Janus, who was the god of new beginnings, with two faces-one to look to the future and one to look to the past. I’ve always used my past to start anew. I’ve never been one to sit and sulk when hurt.

And, no I wasn’t born in January, and there is a reason for that, too. Those born in June, especially at the end of the month tend to be caring, empathetic, and kind. They are also forgiving and extremely optimistic, tending to look at the bright side, and seeing the good in most things (source).

However, they can also have a dark side. They are extremely clumsy (true fact, here), and because of their kindness and empathy-can be taken advantage of, and go through periods of suffering. Like their birthstone-the pearl.

I recently heard the following in a sermon: Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. Matthew 7:6, NLT

I thought it harsh, but it had me thinking about pearls. Why did Jesus use the pearl here, and not the diamond, ruby, or another jewel? Why the pearl?

Diamonds are great. They are said to be a girl’s best friend. Given as sign of commitment to the one chosen as a bride. Heavily sought after. Written about in songs. Everyone seems to want diamonds on their necks. Their wrists. A ring on it, and not a pearl ring, a diamond one. So, why is Jesus not talking about those? Diamonds?

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” Matthew 13:45-46, NLT

Again, why not diamonds?

One must understand how pearls are formed to understand why Jesus would choose to use this gem here. To find a pearl, one must search through hundreds of oysters. Why? Because pearls are not formed by chance. Contrary to belief, not every oyster contains a pearl. Pearls form after an irritant or some pesky monster enters the oyster. Some annoyance. To keep the oyster safe and secure. To protect it from harm, a fluid is secreted which eventually forms a rare, natural pearl.

So why pearls? Not diamonds?

Diamonds are a dime a dozen. Cut, fashioned, shaped, molded in the way the world desires. Placed in cases at every jewelry store, and set on any band you desire. There are infinite commercials about the diamond of one’s dreams-from Jared, of course.

Pearls don’t need to be cut, shaped or molded. They have to be searched for through seas and seas of oysters. They are sought after in their natural state. They are valuable because they need no polishing from the world, but are polished by God. They are the true representation of grace under pressure, purity, and integrity. They are protectors. Cased in shells until found in their infinite beauty.

Everything that represents Jesus.

June. I was born in June.

Full of wisdom. Polished in my natural beauty and rarity by my Maker. Pure. Innocent. Loyal. A place of safety in darkness. Valuable.

A pearl of great price.

To be known

I walked in the room, knowing I needed to apologize. Dinner in our home is definitely a time of interesting, and fiery conversation. The fiery ones center mostly on the state of virtual school. On any given night, one parent ends up being the bad cop, the good cop, or we both end up just being lame. Tonight, it was me.

I wasn’t “bad.” I hadn’t yelled. We hadn’t had the dreaded school discussion that ends in stomping to rooms, but I hadn’t set a “good” example. Not one sprinkled with grace and acceptance.

I had mocked someone we knew at the dinner table. Judged a situation, and judged the person in the situation.

And any of you who haven’t committed this sin, be the first to cast a stone. I’ll wait.

While I wait…and wait, I’ll explain my apology. If I feel my example has not been one of Christlike-ness; or let’s just say, if I KNOW, because the Spirit tells me it hasn’t, I will apologize. This means I will also apologize to my kids.

Now, I know some don’t believe in this. But, the Bible is clear about how humble we must become to enter His kingdom:

Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3, NLT

Like children. So I’m not above apologizing to a child. Especially if I know that one is watching and learning from me.

“I shouldn’t have said what I did tonight. Made fun of what happened. It was wrong. I am not going to justify my behavior. I should have explained my thoughts differently. It was wrong. I didn’t set an example, and it wasn’t kind.”

The apology opened up a conversation about authenticity and belonging.

See…I had left a space earlier that day feeling shunned and unwelcome. Like I was an intrusion. And I let it fester all day. To the point that I let the inauthentic response of another trigger me into anger, and a mean-spirited response.

When I should have explained at dinner the importance of making others feel comfortable in all spaces. Allow others to be free to be themselves, so they don’t have to constantly “shape-shift,” and be less than themselves. To be inclusive to all. To make others feel a little less self-conscious, but rather accepted, seen, loved, and known.

“I don’t want you to be 42 years old, and just figuring this out like I am.”

As I sat typing out the words to this post, I reached for my phone to locate a verse I needed and found this…a note I had typed out in my phone over a year ago. A short “letter” I had written to the younger me.

Dear Younger me,

Choose your circle wisely. You should be loved by your peeps for who you are, not for who you pretend to be. If you have to change who you were made to be to fit into a space, that isn’t your space.

And as I read it, I realized…though she thought it “cringy…” I had just said these exact same words, without my even knowing to a pretty spot-on, younger version of 13 year-old me.

And no…I didn’t want her to have to figure all this out in another 30 years.

And goodness, I am still trying to figure out many days who it is that God sees in me.

Because that is what I want her to see: who God sees. Not what anyone in any room she may walk into may see. Because more often than not…they may not see ALL that God has given her. ALL her talent. ALL her gifts. ALL that makes her so uniquely special, and set apart.

And it’s the same for you. There will be rooms you walk into where you may be known by name, but in which people still just don’t see you. You still don’t feel known. You will move in circles with people who don’t know who you really are, because you feel as if you have to cover up the real you. Play pretend. You may waste years and years trying to fit into spaces that will just never “fit” you, and who you are.

Know this. Embrace it today.

You are always seen and intimately known by God. He knows everything about you, and He still loves you. He has a place for you, and you never have to pretend, cover up; nor will you feel all alone.

He sees the real you. The broken you. The insecure you. The too loud you. The shy you. The you trying to fit into spaces that make you cringe.

He knows your name. He sees you. He loves you. He accepts you. You are known. You belong.

The Messy Middle

There is a place I dread visiting these days. For anyone navigating this stage of parenting, you must know this place. It is hidden behind a door in our home. I know who is there. Problem is…I never know what is there. Meaning, I never know what mess I will find. Are those clothes on the floor clean? Are all those cups necessary? Does an actual person live in here? I want to spend time with my teens, but does it have to be in here? Does it have to be in the middle of this mess?

And all the parents of teens said, “Amen.”

Yet…messy teenage rooms aren’t the only messes we hide from.

We run from the messy middle of our own making. Of life’s circumstances. Of the things we just don’t want to discuss, or even deal with all the time. We even run from the messes of others, because we aren’t comfortable carrying them. Or simply don’t know how.

We dread going through the mess of life, like we dread going into our kid’s rooms, and in our dread we hide. We hide behind masks. We plaster on plastic smiles and happy faces. Pretend that everything is “a-ok” so that the outside world believes that all is good up in our heads, and all in our heart.

Or we retreat. We may run and hide. We may shut ourselves out from the world so no one sees us. So we don’t have to explain away our suffering. Or because running feels like pretending to us. Escaping.

We all have messy we don’t want to address, so we dress-up under our masks. We may hope our mask will “pretty it all up.” We fix the outside up, because that masks the pain we don’t address inside. We fix the outside up, because if the outside looks good, and everyone can see it, then life is all good, right?

Sometimes we even mask up by numbing. With whatever mask we choose to hide away behind when we can’t manage to pretty up the outside. The numbing that takes place in the only way we know how to manage that pain on our own. Binge watching. Eating. Gambling. Drinking. Dating. Sleeping. Or just plain running.

We pretend until we have managed the pain on our own. And we have come out of our mess on the other side. Seemingly clean and unscathed. Or so everyone thinks.

We miss something when we mask up. When we run and hide and shut others out. Or numb it. We miss out on showing others what it looks like to live through the messy middle. What it looks like to truly surrender ourselves to our pain.

To survive it.

Because we can’t just pretend it didn’t happen. That we go through it unscathed. Not bruised. Not changed in some way.

No. We went through it. We didn’t put on a mask. We felt it. We couldn’t just numb it. It was painful. We couldn’t hide.

There is something to learn from those who pour it all out, and wade through the mess before them.

Who don’t search for potions, magic elixirs, and people to help them hide from it all.

Who do the work to get through the messy middle stronger, braver, lighter, and more ready to love than ever before.

Anyone can hide.

It takes a warrior to wade. To fight. To muddle through. To pray on knees, and cry hot, hot tears of defeat, anger, or bitterness. Sometimes all of them at once.

To not hide from messy, but to let it hang out in the open. To open doors that are scary to venture into. To have conversations that are uncomfortable. To admit that the mess was of our own making. To take ownership, and get to working on the clean-up, instead of ducking under the covers, and waiting for someone else to come from behind the door to do it.

To admit that through the messy middle, you doubted you would even see the end. Had lost faith in God. Saw more darkness than light. And yes…those prayers? They were definitely more angry than praiseworthy.

It takes bravery and courage to wade through the mess that way.

It’s not comfortable. No. No, it is not. But it is possible-together.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Yes, we make mistakes. And we can admit them to each other, and get through them…with Him-together. But we have to be willing to release our desire to cover up. To cover up when we stumble. To hide when we fall.

In the messy middle, there is no place for masks. They don’t help. They only hurt. They don’t heal. They only cover up gaping wounds with bandaids that actually require stitches.

Be brave. Open the door. Wade through the mess of the chaos lying at your feet. Sit down with someone you trust, and share your messy middle. Because this…our mess. None of it can be waded through alone. It’s in the mess we see the love of God. It’s in our mess, someone else can, too.

Maybe you failed…but a failure you are not

I failed today.

I had all these things I set out to do. And I didn’t do a single one.

I prayed last night that when I woke this morning, I would remember that “mercy was anew.” I did remember it. For a moment. Until that car pulled out in front of me. That child yelled at me. That co-worker snapped at me. And I forgot all about mercy.

I failed to do the laundry.

I failed to put down my phone.

I failed to meet my deadline. I failed to be patient. Spoke harshly. Was a little too snappy. Let my frustration show through my tone and actions.

I failed today.

I failed to cook dinner.

I failed to play that game with my kids.

I failed to spend time with my husband.

I failed.

I failed because the world says I have to keep up with everything that is thrown at me. I failed because the world says I have to have it all together. Be everything to everyone, all with a bright smile on my face. Check everything off my endless to-do list with everlasting cheeriness.

And if I keep trying to measure up to the standards of the world. Rating myself on whether all my check boxes are filled, I will always feel like a world-class failure.

And I am not. I am not a failure.

I just failed today.

And I can try again tomorrow.

And so can you. You can cross off one more thing from your list you didn’t get done tomorrow. Or next week.

You can spend 10 less minutes on your phone, even if you hoped it would be an hour.

You can simply sort the laundry, and wait until tomorrow to actually start a load.

And still be successful.

Because you are not failing.

You are human. Sure you have some tough days. Sure to want to throw out your check list. Sure to feel that all is going wrong. And everything is crumbling. Sure to feel like you have failed a time or two. Or three.

But surely….never a failure.

We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23

Are you “nuts” every day?

There are three things that amaze me-no, four things I don’t understand; how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman. Proverbs 30:18-19

Yes. A card. With the word “nuts” on it.

And you know what. Many would say it’s to be expected after 14 years (well almost 14, but at some point you don’t count). But me? I laughed. For a while actually.

In the spirit of ole Dr. Suess:

I hate Valentine’s Day. The whole Valentine’s season. Some may think I am lame, but I know the reason. It isn’t because my heart is too small. It is actually one of the biggest of all. Maybe it’s because as a young one she would sit, hoping with all her might, that she would be the recipient of those hand-delivered roses wrapped in Valentine’s delight.

Yep. I never got flowers in middle school. I never got cards. Not even one with the word “nuts” on it.

But really…this day shouldn’t be about those things at all.

My husband didn’t change who he was for some sappy holiday. This card? It is simply him. Every day. More so, I wasn’t expecting anything to be waiting for me today. Not because we don’t celebrate. Not because I am a Valentine’s grinch. We do typical family style things. Valentines bingo. Heart shaped food. But, we also think of each other daily. He picks up “treats” from the store just because. I didn’t need a holiday to prove he loved me.

I didn’t need sappy words written in a card, because they are spoken daily, and yes…sometimes they sound more like what is on the card I got.

I didn’t need a box of chocolates because I get the love I need daily. And none of that love comes from anything that can be wrapped in pretty heart shaped paper.

I no longer need some friend to bring a carnation from my beloved that proves someone loves me. I know he does.

My point is this:

Love isn’t born in a day.

It isn’t expressed on one solo day of the year. And it doesn’t change who it is to impress its love interest.

It doesn’t speak words it wouldn’t speak on the daily. Act any differently. Treat you any differently. It doesn’t have to walk down to the office and purchase a carnation to make you feel special in front of all your classmates.

It’s the same on that one day as it was yesterday. As it will be tomorrow.

Because if it’s nuts about you. Well it is daily. Even if you drive each other nuts.

Even if you never get sent a single flower. You still know…well, those “nuts” are yours.

Love that chooses you

yes signage on brown wooden chalkboard

Photo by Emre Can on

“You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” John 15:16

 My husband and I have a back and forth banter when we talk about our engagement. His comment is that I married him. My response-“Well, YOU asked ME. I simply said yes.”  It is a humorous reminder that he pursued me. Chose me to be his wife.

God is much like a love interest in hot pursuit. And He continues to pursue us until we finally say “yes,” and choose Him.

He chose us from the very beginning. Before we ever knew Him.

And even when we run far away from Him. Reject Him. Turn away from Him and His wisdom-He continues to come look for us.

He chooses us again and again.

Like a date bringing flowers to impress the interest of its heart. God does everything He can to get our attention. He is working in and walking around in our lives even when we don’t see it. Or simply deny His presence.

He sends reminders to us of our worth, when earthly love turns cold, and impressions leave us wanting more, or simply disappointed. We can rest assured that God’s love won’t do either.

It continues to choose you. Look for you. Pursue you.

Until finally…one day-you simply say “yes” and choose Him, too.

Looking for love? Open this…


brown book page

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on

Write them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:9

I have sticky notes of daily affirmations and reminders of my worth posted in a number of places. On walls. On mirrors. On microwaves. Coffee pots. Some are quotes I have collected through the months, but others are Bible verses.

Because God’s Word is love.

And on the days I don’t feel especially loved, I can read these words on my “doorposts and gates” and be reminded that there is one who most certainly loves me.

How so?

Well…there is that one that says “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), to remind me that God’s love does not fail.

There is one that states, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling” (Song of Solomon 4:7); to remind me on days I don’t feel it, that I am beautiful in God’s eyes.

And the other that says, “the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6); to remind me I am never alone, and He will never abandon me.

Or another that tells me: “The Lord will fight for you. You only need be silent” (Exodus 14:14), to remind me I always have a protector.

Aren’t these things we all want to hear? That we are loved, beautiful, and always held and cared for?

You don’t have to look too far. These messages are all in His love letter, written to and for you. The Bible. And He is waiting for you to open it up, and read all the amazing things He says about you.

And maybe add them to a sticky note or two!