Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Arabah’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Shame has tried to silence me my entire life.

Ever since I was four years old… ever since a man named Jackie… shame’s gnarly fingers have gripped my soul, choked me with its hateful whispers.

I thought this was normal. I thought it was true. And until recently, I couldn’t separate shame from me, my personhood.

Shame has been my closest companion, weaving itself so intimately with me that I thought it was me. On dark, lonely nights, shame was there. On cold days and warm summers and in crowds and by myself, shame has always been there. Shame was happy to bring his friends too: insecurity, fear, and inferiority.

Let me tell you about my companion: Shame tells me something bad’s wrong with me. I’ll never be worth anything. That no one will listen. That I don’t have anything valuable to contribute. Ever. That I’ll never be enough. Together, shame and friends have worked to squelch my individuality, limit my creativity, mold me into a conformist, keep me silent and stagnant, and rob me of real intimacy.

{Click here to finish reading Arabah’s story}

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th - Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd - Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th - Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th - Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th - Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st - Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th - Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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Painted Red

painted red, blood, Jesus, sacrifice, first passover, forgiveness of sin

Paint.

It covers whatever is beneath it, with each brush stroke blotting out all that came before.

It covers nail holes and cracks in the walls, the scribbles of a toddler and the spills of a preschooler.  It covers poorly chosen colors and other such mistakes.  It even covers rust and mildew, evidences of time and neglect.

Paint makes old things new again, clean again, perhaps even beautiful again.

And yet that first Passover, the paint was hardly beautiful, blood splashed red across door frames painted as a covering, a protection over what was to come.

painted red, sacrifice, blood, first Passover

The people of God believed, and so they painted, each household, the blood of an innocent lamb across their door frames.  They splashed ugly smears of musky red in faith that Yahweh would keep his promise to them.  Then they waited as death passed over them, leaving their firstborns untouched, an act of mercy.

And again over a thousand years later, a one and only Son painted a cross red with his own blood, poured it out willingly for a world full of undeserving sinners.  The bloody mess of his tortured, nail-driven flesh was gruesome, but the promise, the promise was a thing of beauty beyond comprehension.  Once again mankind would be passed over because of the blood of the Lamb.  Once again, salvation would be freely offered to those who chose to believe the promise.

Now we who believe are painted righteous by faith, passed over, wiped clean. All of the mistakes, ugliness, and scars that were ours before are blotted out by bold, beautiful strokes in the hand of a Master who loves us enough to give a one and only Son.

Romans 5:8-10

 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been

reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Thus the ugly red paint brings forth new life and along with it, joy and peace and beauty.

So those once black with sin

are now washed white as snow,

painted red

by the blood of the Lamb.

Jen :)

I’m joining the brave and lovely Five Minute Friday writers again this week over at Lisa-Jo’s place.  She chooses a word prompt and we all write fast and furiously for five(ish) minutes, no planning, no editing, no over-thinking.  All are welcome, so come on over and join us!

I’m also sharing with: Missional Women, Christian Mommy Blogger, Serving Joyfully, A Little R&R, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wholehearted Home, Messy Marriage

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Kerry’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

A wise woman once told me, “You can only promote one reputation at a time; yours or God’s.”

When I strive to be recognized by others, then God looks small to the world (while I appear haughty and desperate). But if I seize every opportunity to spread God’s fame, then I fade into the background and His glorious kindness shines brightly.

It boils down to this. God is the all-powerful, sinless Creator… so His reputation is more important than mine. Yet because He loves and values me unconditionally, Jesus died to pay the price for my redemption. I am valuable to God! Does anybody else’s acceptance really matter?

When I rest in belonging to Him I can throw myself into Kingdom work by promoting God’s reputation. My every decision will be filtered through the question, “Will this action of mine show the world how great God is?”

On the other hand, if I doubt my value to God…then proving my worth through accomplishments, possessions, or my appearance becomes my full-time career. No resources remain for pursuing Christ and sharing Him with others.

Let’s look at two women of the Bible who illustrate these contrasting ideas. Hannah, who promoted God’s reputation instead of her own, and Miriam, who coveted more accolades for herself. {For a refreshing dip into God’s Word, click over to Kerry’s post.}

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th - Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd - Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th - Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th - Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th - Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st - Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th - Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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Bad Guys Are Real

Bad Guys Are Real, sin, grace, eternal life

I love how she chatters when it’s just her and me in the van, her sweet, soft voice breaking through the unusual quiet as we travel. I point out two military jets flying overhead and she asks if they are carrying a lot of people.

“Well, no, these jets are carrying soldiers who work hard to protect us, protect our country,” I explain.

“They protect us? Like from bad guys?  Mommy, are bad guys real?”  Her voice gets quiet.

I want to tell her, “no.” I want to make her feel safe and secure, but the truth is that bad guys are real.  “Yes, they are real, sis. Some people want to hurt others and do bad things.”

From the front seat, I imagine her eyes growing wide with this information. “Because they don’t love God?” She questions, so smart yet so innocent for all of her five years.

daughter, are bad guys real?, good vs. evil, sin, Jesus, grace, eternal life

I want to tell her, “yes.” Yes, bad guys are bad because they don’t know or love God.  They are bad because they hurt others.  They are bad because they have evil inside, and they do unspeakable things.  That would be the quick and easy explanation, right?

But it’s not the whole truth, is it, this idea that some are bad and some are good?  The truth is we all have evil inside.  We’re all bad in a sense; it’s called sin.  So once again I stop myself from making it sound that simple in favor of telling her the truth.

bad guys, none righteous, we all sin

“Well, yes, some bad guys probably don’t know God or love Him.  But really we all have the ability to be bad.  We all have sin inside of us, and we all make wrong choices sometimes.  It’s only because we believe that Jesus paid the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross that we can choose good instead. That’s the only real difference between the bad guys and the good guys – Jesus.  Without Him we would all be bad guys.”

She falls quiet then for a while, and I know she’s thinking about what I said. I hope and I pray that she really gets it.  That there is nothing good in us, nothing deserving, nothing “better than.”  

Because more than anything I want my sweet, dark-haired beauty of a daughter to know that she cannot, she cannot, be good on her own. She needs Jesus. She needs grace.

bad guys, wages of sin, unrighteous, sin leads to death, eternal life is a gift

Even more than that, I want her to realize that we all need it, this grace, this unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unfathomable gift from a Father God who deigned to love us, a bunch of bad guys, enough to sacrifice His one and only Son.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,

in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom. 5:8

Yes, my daughter, bad guys are real.

But praise be to God,

Jesus is real, too.

Jen :)

Sharing with: My Freshly Brewed Life, Managing Your Blessings, Mom’s The Word, Wholehearted Home, Messy Marriage,

Jennifer Dukes Lee, Rich Faith Rising

You may find me linking with any of these lovely blogs.

 

 

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An Interview With the Author of Love Idol {and a chance to win!}

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

As part of our “Verdict on Value” series, today we have the privilege of interviewing Jennifer Dukes Lee and giving away a copy of her brand new book, Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes

Here is a snippet of the interview, which you can read in it’s entirety here. Here’s Jennifer:

“Approval is a powerful force in our world. We want to be loved, and liked, and known and validated. And sometimes, we want all that from people – more than we want it from God.

I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy since I was a child – even though I was a perfectionist child with the As to prove it. I had always hoped that my good performances would fill the desire for significance and value. I wanted the approval of parents, peers, and pastors – of everyone.

Retraining my heart would take years. But I knew it was worth the fight – not only for me, but for our daughters. Children are mirrors, reflecting what they see in us. I’ll never forget one Thanksgiving several years ago. I found one of the girls crying in the corner of a bedroom. She had drawn a self-portrait and labeled the parts: “Boring brown hair. Stupid glasses. Dumb freckles. Bad teeth.” She had scrawled across the top of the paper: UGLY.

So many of us – as girls – feel like we’re never enough. And we grow up into women who feel the same way.

I sat on the floor next to my daughter that afternoon and held her for a long time. I vowed that I would provide a firm foundation for my girls to know that a woman’s identity is found in Christ alone. But I would need to live that truth out. I would need to model my Christ-identity.

My girls and I started saying these words out loud: “We’ve had enough of the not-enoughs.”

I started journaling my experiences, writing on my blog, and speaking about the issue of approval. On paper, I could see how my life had become a long journey of seeking approval in the classroom, the corporate cubicle, and my own family tree. After talking with women across the country, I’ve learned that my journey is every woman’s journey – even though the details of our stories differ.”

Click here to read the entire interview and a chance to win Jennifer’s just released book!

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th - Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd - Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th - Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th - Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th - Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st - Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th - Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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Dollar Store Deals for Preschool Days {and toddlers, too!}

If you read this blog often or know me personally, you probably know that I love a good bargain!  Not only do I enjoy being a good steward of the finances entrusted to us, but I also really enjoy helping others save money, too.  So, as a follow-up to Free Resources for Teaching Pre-K at Home, I thought I would share with you all of the deals we have found at the dollar store that we currently use in our homeschool preschool.

Here’s a great big list of our favorite dollar store deals, as well as  ideas on how to use them for toddlers and preschoolers, whether you are homeschooling or just want some fun early childhood learning activities to keep the kids occupied. :)

dollar store deals for homeschooling, preschool, toddlers, crafts, learning

 

 

 

~ Learning Tools ~

 

Workbooks - If you get lucky, you might find preschool and toddler workbooks in the book section of your local dollar store.  Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, use this mom’s idea of putting worksheets into protective sleeves and use dry erase markers so that they can be used multiple times – genius! :)

Dry-erase workbooks (Shapes & Colors and Numbers) – I love that we can use the dry-erase workbooks pictured below these over and over again. What a deal for only a dollar!

dollar store deals, learning tools, homeschool, preschool, toddler, workbooks, puzzles

Dry-erase writing practice board – We found one of these several years ago at a dollar store.  It looks like a sheet of handwriting practice paper but is made of dry-erase board material.

Sidewalk Chalk – You can buy a whole box of sidewalk chalk for a dollar and use it for all sorts of learning fun.  Here are some ideas to choose from:

Shape Hop which could also become number hop, alphabet hop, color hop – you get the point. :)

Alphabet Squirt

Foam puzzles  – Our son is more of a musical and tactile learner, from what I’ve observed so far.  So these foam puzzles for letters and numbers are a great dollar deal for him!  Our daughter really enjoys them, too, and she has learned several letters on her own just from playing with them.

Small board books - I always look for these dollar store deals.  Sometimes I give them as gifts, but often I find books that help teach early childhood concepts such as shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and so forth.  We also enjoy any books including nursery rhymes since rhyming is an important reading skill and bible stories, which seem to be easy to come by at our local dollar store.

Flash Cards - We play fun games with these alphabet flashcards and colors & shapes flashcards.  Sometimes we play Go-fish with them (you will need more than one set of alphabet).  We also play a game where they get to run to me from across the room and get the card after they recognize it (and then I ask them to recognize it again when we put them all away).  We play jump on the correct flashcard, run to the correct card, and even swat the card, a modification of this mom’s idea (which is by far our son’s favorite!).

dollar store deals flashcards, cheap homeschool learning tools, frugal homeschooling

Fake money – This is on our list of things to buy.  Our kids love counting money, and at the same time they begin to learn the names of the coins!

Magnetic letters –  Our daughter is really catching on to phonics lately, so the magnetic letters are great for showing her how to build words!  You don’t even have to use them on the fridge -if the homeschool area in your home lacks a magnetic surface, just grab a cookie sheet. :)  Use for letter recognition, letter matching, and word-building.

 

 

~ Basic Craft Supplies ~

Pipe Cleaners - Aside from everyday bendy fun, they can be used for color sorting, patterning, bending into shapes, numbers, or letters, and other various craft projects.  I created some pipe cleaner letters (both uppercase and lower) for our tactile learner that we use for matching games or letter hide-n-seek, which works really well for twins.  Just make sure the hiding spot isn’t too difficult!  Your children might also enjoy these pipe cleaner activities:

Pipe Cleaner Counting Beads

dollar store deals for homeschooling, craft supplies, frugal homeschool, cheap

Pom-poms - We love pom-poms!  They can be used for color sorting, patterning, size sorting, counting, and many other crafts.  Try an activity like this one:

Pom Pom Counting

Colored wooden craft sticks (popsicle sticks) – If you get lucky, you might find these colored craft sticks at your dollar store.  We use ours for color sorting using these color mats, counting, patterning, creating shapes or letters, etc.

Colored card-stock/index cards - I bought some colored card-stock and a pack of index cards at the beginning of our preschool adventure, and I’ve used almost all of the index cards already.  I use them for all sorts of things, but mainly for creating my own flashcard sets like the one found here or counting cards like these. I like mounting the index cards to cardstock to add a little color around the edge and to give them more stability.

Foam Shapes – Usually you can find some sort of foam shapes in the craft or learning section of the dollar store, as well.  We found some great primary colored circles to use for sorting, counting, patterning, etc.

Small, chubby markers - I love the set we found at our dollar store because they are washable and the size fits our preschoolers’ hands much like the oversize crayons do.  The size makes it easier for toddlers and preschoolers to maintain a correct grasp.

dollar store deals, crayons, markers, homeschool, preschool, toddlers

Miscellaneous - Large crayons, construction paper, hole punch,scissors, glue sticks, paints,dry erase markers, and more can all be found at the dollar store.  The only reason I mention them is that they often cost more at other stores than at your local dollar store (unless it is back-to-school season).

 

 

 

~ Fun Stuff ~

Small party favors – I found some tiny cars for our son and some pretty beads for our daughter, but any small objects will do (just be aware of choking hazards!).  Use them with your counting cards, mentioned above.  The next time we go to the dollar store, I hope to find some bugs and a few other small things. These dollar store deals are great for counting fun, beginning math, sorting fun, and more!

Marbles – Marbles provide sensory fun for kids of all ages, but for our home preschool we mainly use them for counting.

dollar store deals, seasonal items, cheap homeschool supplies,  early childhood education

Seasonal items – We’ve found lots of seasonal foam stickers such as the fall leaves pictured above.  They can be used for sorting, matching, counting, etc.  Our preschoolers also really love any learning activity that involves Easter eggs, for some reason.  Here are a few from pinterest that you might try for learning at home:

10 Easter Egg Numbers and Letters Games

Easter Egg ABC Match-up

Easter Egg Sight Words and more

Bingo Markers – We use these for do-a-dot sheets like the ones found here or for creating our own patterns.

Playdoh – Playdoh is amazing for building those fine motor skills and (bonus!) it’s just a lot of fun to play with! Use a variety of colors for homeschooling by creating letters with these playdoh mats or shapes with these playdoh mats.  Or take a step back from directed instruction to allow for some free play time.

Straws – They are so versatile for early childhood education (and beyond)!  We use ours to compares sizes (bigger than, smaller than), to form letters and shapes, to count, to create patterns, and so forth.  You can even cut them to short lengths and string them on yarn for fine-motor skill fun.

Stickers – Put them on letters, use them for matching games or counting games.

Stamp sets

Clothespins – Use them for all sorts of toddler or preschool learning fun.  Try any of these ideas from pinterest:

Clothespin Color Match

Clothespin Counting

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler

 

 

To be honest, most of our preschool/homeschool supplies have come from the dollar store since we are trying to homeschool as frugally as possible.  I’m thankful God has provided for us this year as we teach our twins preschoool at home.

If you have any other great dollar store finds for early childhood education or homeschooling, leave a comment and let us know!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Serenity Now, Wholehearted Home

You may also find me linking up at any of these lovely places.

 

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Kathy’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Starting the day with weariness, I was on my way into the church parking lot when the thought crossed my mind: “life is war.” And then, “if we for a moment put our sword down and pretend like it isn’t, we begin to lose ground.”

There are times we feel like we can’t win and want to just ‘get out’ of the fight.

I’m not talking about the wars we hear of on the daily news, the battles our soldiers fight on land with guns and tanks . . .

I’m talking about our personal wars. Life’s daily struggles.

We fight to maintain schedules, to make deadlines, to control our eating, to get to the gym, to give when we’d rather hoard, to be kind when we are under pressure, to cook and serve another meal, the list goes on and on.

But here is what I think is the crux of it all: The core battle is the one fought in our souls for our identity. I’ve written about the soul-hole, how we are born with a cavern that needs to be filled with love and only God’s perfect love can complete us.

Though we know that, we don’t always live it. Often, I think it is because we don’t know how to fight. We think we have to fight for validation, but we already have it. Christ who came to redeem us from the curse of broken identity has already validated us. We don’t fight for victory, we fight from it.

His cross proclaims, “It is finished.” {Your search for value ends HERE!} “I passionately love you!!!”

In this series we want to explore how to walk in victory, to teach what we have learned and to learn from one another. The battle won’t cease until we are done with this life and completely free from our old skin. But we have been given what we need to stay the course while we are here.

Click here to finish reading Kathy’s story

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th - Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd - Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th - Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th - Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th - Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st - Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th - Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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Joy: It’s Not What You Think

It’s Five Minute Friday again, so I’m joining up with the lovely ladies over at Lisa Jo Baker’s place for a stress-free, five-minute, free-write on a one-word prompt.  Join us if you like!

Joy.

We hear people say it, “choose joy” as if it is a thing readily available for the taking.  Just reach out and grasp it and it’s yours to keep.

And some think they’ve found it in a nice house or pretty clothes or a fulfilling relationship, while others are just plain hungry for it. We think we find joy in children’s laughter, walks on the beach, sunny days, a good book. We claim joy in date nights, a healthy bank account, a successful career or ministry, good health, full stomachs, any and all of those blessings we’ve counted up.

We look for joy always in all of the created things; we crave it.

But all of these things, even these people, they are are fleeting, sisters: here today, gone tomorrow.  Any joy based on these moments, based on temporary possessions or circumstances, is destined to pass.

When that happens, we feel cheated somehow, don’t we?  We feel let down.  We may even wonder if something is wrong with us or question why the joy is gone.  Have you been there before? When the sunshine suddenly turns to rain, when laughter turns to pain?

I have.  I’ve walked through seasons where joy seemed scarce and even counting my blessings, though they are many, wasn’t enough to satisfy my soul.  I’ve found myself hungry for lasting joy, a joy not of this world.

joy, pain, suffering, sorrow

True joy, lasting joy, comes from one source and one source only – the Father God who created us purely for love’s sake.  His only Son took upon Himself the burden of the cross “for the joy set before him” so that we might have joy unspeakable.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

 Are you looking for real joy today, sister, the kind of joy that lasts through the hard times and back again, the kind that wells up from within, unstoppable?

Find it in Jesus.

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
Psalm 92:4
O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Psalm 95:1

Jen :)

You may also find me linking up with any of these lovely places.

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The Verdict on Your Value Series

Today I’m sharing wise words from my friend Arabah Joy about our value.

Verdict on Value

Noise. Our lives are surrounded by it.

It bombards from within and without and much of our daily noise serves one purpose: to tell us how we are measuring up. It tells us what we are… or aren’t. It tells us we are worthy, successful, valuable, up to par… or we, simply, are not. It tells us we can take it easy on ourselves… or we need to try harder, do more, drive ourselves further.

It should be no surprise to us that the enemy of our souls is alive and well in the noise, tempting us to such things as:

Comparisons

Pride

Insecurity

Intimidation

Inferiority

Selfish Ambition

Shame

Silence

As tempting and overpowering as these things may seem, we need not give place to them in our hearts. God’s Word tells us that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. We can face the noise of our lives well equipped for triumph, grace, and confidence.

I am pleased to be part of a brand new series entitled “The Verdict on Value.” This series is about standing in confidence in a dog-eat-dog world and is brought to you by a group of blogging friends who have seen firsthand the damage comparison, insecurity, shame, and the like can do. Throughout this series we are going to share our stories and temptations with insecurity… and how Christ has worked in our lives to free us.

We invite you to join us every Thursday for the next 7 weeks for this series. We have some fun surprises planned as well :) Just be sure to tune in to this blog each Thursday! Here’s a sneak peak into the series and the bloggers I have the privilege of working with on this:

Kathy from Free to Fly

Leah from The Point (Ministry Insecurity)

Jen from Confident in Grace

Arabah from Arabah Joy (Confessions from a Shameful Woman ~with a free mini Bible study printable)

Kerry from Plenty Place

Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a book giveaway of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes!)

Wrap up with Jennifer Dukes Lee

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The Pastor’s Mulligan

pastor's mulligan. do-over, second chance, ministry life, pastor's wife, forgiveness, grace

We woke at our usual Sunday-morning times and showered and bathed the little ones.  We ate breakfast and dressed in our Sunday-morning clothes and tied shoes and added bows to ponytails.  The morning routine was going relatively smoothly until the phone rang.

I heard my husband say, “Aw, man.”

Concerned, I called out from the next room, “What’s wrong?”

“We’re late!  I forgot it was the start of daylight savings!”

For most church-going families, this would result in either skipping Sunday School altogether or making a red-face, apologetically late entrance.

But I’m married to the Pastor.

So, forgetting to “spring forward” meant people sitting in the sanctuary, sitting and waiting on us.

At first, the perfectionist in me was sorely tempted to give in to crankiness.  Why would the Lord allow us to make such a noticeable and embarrassing mistake?!  How could we have missed daylight savings?!

Somehow, I had missed every possible reminder of the upcoming time change and was honestly clueless.  Right then and there, I decided blaming God wasn’t going to help and neither was blaming myself.  Although forgetting to change our clocks was incredibly humiliating and humbling (and it WAS), it could not have been prevented in any way.

So, when my husband, the pastor, received the call that meant we were shamefully late, I decided to let it go, to trust the Lord, knowing my own conscience was clear.  Knowing that while others might have the right to complain, we could handle it with grace.

You see, the Father’s been teaching me lately how little the approval of men matters in the larger scheme of things.  He’s been teaching me instead to look towards His Son for the approval that I seek. He’s been stretching my ideas about grace.

By the time we made it to church, wet hair and all, Sunday School was already halfway over, but we made the best of it.  I was a little afraid my husband might be chastised, but thankfully our small, country church is full of kind and gracious folks.

And wouldn’t you know the Lord had a word for us today, a word for me.

Because my husband preached on Jonah and the people of Nineveh.  He proclaimed that our God is the God of mulligans, second-chances, do-overs, try-agains.  And we, the pastor and his family, had been exceedingly, embarrassingly late to church that morning. :)

pastor's mulligan, second chances, forgiveness, grace, pastor's wife

Wait – it gets even better!  The very best part of God extending a mulligan to the people of Nineveh (and to those of us who trust in Him today) is that no record of previous wrongs exists. The second chance takes the place of the first, wipes it completely out of existence, as if it never, ever happened.

That argument with your husband – wiped out.  Those harsh words spoken to your children – wiped out.  The thoughts you had about that hard-to-get-along-with person – wiped out.  The extra bites of brownie you took – wiped out.  The time you wasted on frivolous things – wiped out.  The decision to ignore the Holy Spirit so you could have more “me” time – wiped out.  The worry, the coveting, the greed, the jealousy, the impatience, the lack of self-discipline, all of it – wiped out.

Sometimes we don’t realize how guilty we’ve allowed the Enemy to make us until we’re reminded of the second chance, the mulligan.  Sometimes we forget that even though life gets hard and our sin nature pulls at us so and we feel helpless, the final battle is already won,  just as we sang in our closing hymn this morning:

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And has shed His own blood for my soul.”

pastor's mulligan, grace for pastor's and pastor's wives, second chances, forgiveness

We forget that our sins have already been pardoned, mulligan-ed, wiped away:

“My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more…”

And the victory that is ours to cling to will come.  It will come.  It will come, sisters.

“And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.”

Because by the blood of the Father’s son, Jesus, we possess unlimited mulligans.

Even pastors.

Even their wives.

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

And in our humility, we see clearly His greatness.

Jen :)

*You may also find me at any of these lovely places.

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