Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WHO ARE YOU? Who, who, who, who!

Would you like to go on vacation with me?

Come join me as I create a travel blog right here!  We're leaving tomorrow and I’ll be writing almost every day throughout our trip beginning Friday!

I went to a writer’s conference a month or so ago and as John dropped me off at the airport, he said to me, “Robbie, no one gets to tell you your identity. No editor, no publisher, not another writer. Only God gets to speak to who you are.” His words had a profound effect on me. I’ve asked him to be a guest Joyvotion writer this week. The following is written by my beloved husband.

“And God said; Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. ” Genesis. 1:26

As a believer, I accept that God is my creator and by faith I have chosen to submit to Him as my Lord and King.

I drive a car that was “created” by Ford. They had a purpose in mind when they made this car. I can choose to load it up like a truck and I may have some success getting the load from point A to point B, but if I need a truck I should get a truck not a car. The purpose of anything is limited to the design and the design is defined by the designer. A boat is for sailing and a plane is for flying and with very few exceptions the two can’t switch roles.

We humans all have many similarities in design (two legs, one head, opposable thumbs, etc.) so at some level we are all designed by our maker to fulfill the same purpose. But God gave us souls and free will so unlike animals, we can live beyond mere instinct and live out a very diverse and unique purpose.

So who gets to decide your purpose? I would argue that it is as simple as my car. The creator defines purpose. Additionally, I am convinced that purpose comes from identity so to know and live out your purpose you must know who you are.

The Rock Band “The Who” asked the question, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” We all struggle with that question and we often feel like we have failed to live up to what we were supposed to be. We feel that if anyone knew the truth about us, they would reject us.

So now we get to the real question. Who gets to tell you your identity? Should you listen to your boss when he/she gives you a rating on your work? What about a family member who decides to tell you your faults? Maybe you have a dream, and a friend tells you their opinion of your chances on achieving that dream. Allowing others to speak into your life can be valuable, but only if you let GOD speak first to your identity and your purpose.

Stop taking this question to other people or things. Instead, take it to your Creator who knew you while you were in your mother’s womb. In the Bible, sometime God gives new names. Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, James and John were known as the Sons of Thunder (talk about a very cool name.)

I believe God knows our real name and identity and will tell us if we ask. We often say “God has a plan for your life” and I am convinced that plan for each of us is rooted in our real name and identity that only God knows.

How to ask? Take time to be alone with God. No phone or distractions just time with the God who loves you and longs to set you free to be the real you He had in mind when He created you. When you discover your identity, remind yourself often of who He made you to be. So when the world tries to speak identity and purpose to you, you know the truth. You know who you are.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Caps and Gowns not Required!

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”

1 Corinthians 13:12

We are great, we are fun, and we’re the class of ’81!

Cheesy, yes. But thirty-one years ago, it was a cool thing to yell.

Back then, I walked across a stage and accepted a diploma as a member of the Van Horn High School class of 1981. I believe we were 35 strong. Yesterday, I watched as my nephew Hunter walked across a stage in the middle of a football field. He comes from a class of 378.

Vast are the differences between the two experiences, but similarities exist, too. A group of eighteen-year-olds who don’t really know what they want in life celebrate a milestone, sit through endless speakers and restlessly tap their feet to leave and attend parties.

The songs the seniors performed today inspired me as did the student speakers. Two did a tag team speech in which they talked about how the four years had changed them. Both started high school in difficult health and family situations, but yesterday they stood healthy, determined and headed for college. I thought of Hunter who battles diabetes and has not let it stop him from being a football player, wrestler, musician, leader and all around great guy. Yep, I’m a proud aunt.

So as my vivid imagination absorbed the day’s events, I thought, “I wonder how God sees graduations?” I have a feeling that if God showed up in bodily form at a graduation, he’d look like a proud parent, video camera in one hand, tissues in the other. When one of his kids’ names were called, He’d stand up and cheer and pull the trigger on one of those blaring air-horns, so his children know He’s there.

Graduations don’t happen every day for any of us, but milestones in the kingdom of God occur often. A friend of mine is standing up to an abusive ex-husband and guarding her heart. There goes the air-horn! My husband attended a meeting at work yesterday in which someone irritated him to his breaking point. He held his tongue. God claps His hands and whistles! An innocent child, a rebellious teenager and a discouraged adult each bow their heads and whisper, “Help me, God.” The heavens go crazy and God reaches for His camera and the tissues.

I wish you and I could grasp how much the Father cheers for us. Always. Not just in that big moment when we achieve a goal or make a major move in our lives. But also in those instances when we make the choices that define who we are. We take an extra moment to say thank you. We give a little time and effort to someone who needs it. We are alone and decide to forgive instead of build a grudge. Heavenly air-horns go off even if we hear nothing.

Someday I think we will see and hear as we can’t today. Imagine with me: we will each move our tassels from left to right, throw up our worldly caps in the air and celebrate. Oh, what a party that will be! The first one through the crowd to give hugs and congratulate us will be Him…face to face. Woot!! Air-horn!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

4 Ways my Dogs Teach me about God!

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;” Job 12:7

The other day it occurred to me that God, who wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives, gave our dogs Scooby and Thor to us for all sorts of reasons. One of which was to teach us about His character. Sound silly? Read on.

1) God is our number one fan! No matter if I’ve been gone 20 minutes or 3 days, when I walk in the door, Scooby and Thor rush to meet me, greet me and clamber to sit with me. No matter how long we don’t focus on God, He always RUSHES to meet us, greet us and sit with us. I see His unconditional love in my puggle and my chug.

2) God is a patient forgiver. My boy, Noah, often torments our dogs. Now before you jump and think he is destined to be a serial killer (the thought has crossed my mind :0) ) know that Scooby and Thor adore him. He might do something awful and I will yell at him and tell him that the dogs will eventually bite his face off. He then calls one of them and they run to him. Stupid dogs? Maybe. But I see the grace of God in them. No matter how we treat ourselves, each other, or God Himself, He comes when we call. Always. That is GRACE.

3) God senses our hurt and wants to comfort. After I had gall bladder surgery, Scooby sat with me every day on the couch, cuddling with gentleness. A few weeks ago, after I came home from being in the ICU for three days with an intestinal infection, both of my dogs were gentle and loving. Even Thor, who has ADD. :0) John says when we are sick we probably smell like bacon to them. :0) Whatever the reason, their little doggie behavior shows me the heart of God. When we hurt, the Creator of our hearts, the one who knows our pain like no other, wants to curl up with us on the couch and just be.

4) God wants to run free in our lives. Scooby and Thor are happiest when they are off the leash. The other day a bunny came out of a bush in front of Scooby and he lost his little doggie mind, jerking on the leash so hard it broke. I stood there with the handle in my hand and Scooby ran free, the leash trailing him. I caught up with him about 5 minutes later. He looked at me as if to say, “Mom, wasn’t that fun?” Often you and I try to keep God on a leash, putting Him into a box we create out of our comforts or insecurities. Letting God off the leash in your life is the key to freedom and adventure! When Scooby or Thor has the chance to chase the local wildlife, I’m reminded of the freedom God dearly wants for me.

Last week, Thor took my Jesus Calling devotional and chewed the corners off. This has absolutely nothing to do with God’s character. Just ticked me off. :0)

But if I ask our Lord to show me Himself, He does it, even in the most unlikely places.

Like a puggle and a chug.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Today, Let God Treat You!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness will I draw you to me. “Jeremiah 31:3

“Robbie, let me treat you.” Five of my favorite words! :0)

Don’t you just love it when you are having coffee with someone and they say that? And what a kick it is to be the one surprising your friend. It’s not a huge thing, but the moment always brings me a smile and a little warm-up to the heart just as satisfying as morning coffee.

The other day, a friend of mine surprised me by treating me to a cup of hot ginger peach tea. As I sat to drink it, I felt the Spirit in me whisper, “I am FOR you, Robbie.” It was as if God treated me to the coffee, through my friend.

God wants to treat you and me. He is FOR us and He adores us. Last week I was in a three day funk, surrounded by negative thoughts and a pity party. God treated me to moments of hope and gave me a hand out of the pit I dug for myself.

TODAY, why don’t you and I allow God to treat us! Watch for what happens and see that He loves you, no matter your circumstances or your emotional state. He is FOR you! This morning God put the following words in my heart. For me and I hope and pray, for you.

Let Him Treat You

To a Taste of His Goodness,

To a Cup of Joy.

Let Him Treat You

To Peace during Anxiety,

To a Breath of Life during Smothering Pain.

Let Him Treat You

With Tenderness ‘cause you are Worth it.

With Gentle Humor ‘cause He Loves your Laugh.

Let Him Treat You

As Who You Are,

As Who You’re Meant to Be,

As Who You’re Becoming.

Let Him Treat You with His Infinite, Unconditional and Unrelenting LOVE.

Today, God’s Buying! :0)