An Extra Ordinary Life

Perhaps, it began in high school when I had dreams of being a corporate lawyer with a corner office. I spent many an afternoon envisioning my days spent in the courtroom and my evenings in my high rise apartment in the city.

Or, maybe, it was when I was in college pursuing an education degree and an older gentleman insisted I was made for something different. I was too much of a free spirit, he said, to spend my days in the classroom. Ron, from the lawn and garden department at Lowe’s, convinced me that there were exotic places I needed to visit and adventures I needed to have.

IMG_7668

It’s possible, of course, that it came much later when I began using social media and fell prey to its culture of comparison. Someone is always enjoying life a little more, mothering with a tad more chutzpah, and making their mark on the world in a slightly bolder way.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter when it occurred. The fact is that, at some point, I developed this idea that I had to do something extraordinary with my life. There’s this restlessness inside that tells me that I need to convince the world that I’m “somebody.”

I spent several years as the executive assistant to the president of a multi-million dollar company and, I’ll be honest, people were impressed by that. Then, I was given the opportunity to write a few books and, again, people were impressed by that. Yet, I currently find myself in a season where I’m doing neither of those things. I’m just here, plucking away behind the scenes, doing nothing extraordinary.

FullSizeRender (2)

In fact, if I’m brutally honest, I’m doing just the opposite; I’m living an extra ordinary life. I’m making meals and bathing babies. I’m reading bedtime stories and checking math assignments. I’m making beds and drinking coffee. It all sounds delightful and yet, in my heart, it feels like I’m covered in ordinary.

Then, it comes to me.

The Christmas story is all about a majestic King who removed His royal robes and clothed Himself in the ordinary flesh of man.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2

We live in a world that praises the extraordinary but, I dare say, there are far more of us that fall into the extra ordinary category. Many of us feel disillusioned because we thought we would have done more, seen more, become more. We had big ideas, big dreams, and big plans, yet our lives seem very small.

Sometimes, those of us leading these ordinary lives feel like we’ve missed out on some holy assignment or grand adventure. We fear that, maybe, we are here washing the same dishes and folding the same laundry day after day and, all the while, there is some “thing” out there that we are supposed to be doing. We wonder if God even sees us down here covered in our ordinary.

But the beauty of God’s plan of redemption – the whole essence of the gospel – is that God chose to cover Himself in ordinary when he put on flesh.

Christ’s birth was announced to shepherds doing what shepherds do – watching their flocks by night. They were not trying to write How to be a Shepherd in Three Easy Steps. They weren’t building a business or trying to gather a following. Those are fine endeavors but it is also okay, for crying out loud, for a shepherd to just be a faithful shepherd. Before we focused on bigger things, what if we were just really diligent and faithful in the ordinary things God has us doing right now.

An ordinary virgin, ordinary shepherds, ordinary fishermen and a God who chose ordinary flesh. Maybe, just maybe, we can live a faithful, God-honoring, neighbor-loving, ordinary life and, in the end, look back and say, “Wow, wasn’t that an extraordinary ride!”

 

 

He’s God and He’s Good

We read the story of Jesus calming the storm. The winds are howling, the waves are crashing and the disciples are panicking. Why were they so concerned?

As far back as I can remember, I have been terrified of dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, hot dogs. I have frozen in fear at the sight of a canine and the phobia still seems to be going strong after all of these years. But, here’s the thing. If I pass someone walking their dog on a leash, I don’t freak out and act a fool. I trust that the owner of the animal is in control of it. Now, if I encounter a dog and there is no owner in sight, it’s every woman for herself.

22548638_1712589878812298_1030779860993064753_o

These men found themselves in the middle of an out of control sea and simply didn’t realize that Jesus had the storm on a leash.

All throughout Scripture, Satan tries to make people doubt two things about Jesus. First, he wants people to doubts Jesus’ Godness.

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Matthew 4:3

If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. Matthew 4:6

If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself. Luke 23:37

If.

If.

If.

The problem is that, once someone has a face to face encounter with Christ, there is no doubting His Godness.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Mark 8:29

 

18588974_1542137032524251_5972489282854868055_o

This doesn’t deter Satan. He just moves to the next trick in his bag. If the enemy can’t make you doubt His Godness, he’ll attempt to make you doubt His goodness.

Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die? Mark 4:38

Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Luke 10:40

Don’t you care, Lord?

When the job doesn’t work out, the baby doesn’t come, the prodigal doesn’t return, our health fails, Prince Charming doesn’t arrive, someone betrays us, we’ve been rejected. Underneath it all is one vital question: Don’t you care, Lord?

Satan wants you to wonder if Jesus is good.

Spoiler alert: He is good.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord is good to all. Psalm 145:9

Maybe you’re grieving a loss. Perhaps, you’re making your way through the valley of the shadow. Possibly, you’re coming to terms with the fact the God’s plan doesn’t look quite like your plan did.

Here is what we need to cling to in any and every situation.

We have a Saviour who is God and who is good. That’s a combination worthy of our worship and our faith.

You are loved.

From Grave to Grace

IMG_7157

I’ve always loved the story of Lazarus. I mean, who doesn’t love a good man-raised-from-the-dead tale?

I wonder how Lazarus felt about it?

We’re usually okay with folks hearing our success stories.  But how do we feel about the people who witness the whole fall from grace?

We are happy to emerge from the wreckage to the cheers from the crowds. But how do we feel around the ones who watched us crash and burn?

We are often embarrassed about our stories. We feel awkward or ashamed around the ones who were there when our children went astray, our marriages fell apart, our personal sins found us out, our car was repossessed, that unexpected pregnancy became known, or we caved to that addiction once again.

Do you know who continued to bear witness to what Jesus had done in Lazarus’ life? It was the ones who had been there when Jesus called him from grave to grace. It was the ones who saw him step into daylight with the stench of death still lingering.

We want the pomp of the resurrection but not the pain of the death, but it’s a package deal. It’s painful; there’s no way around it. Just remember, it’s pain with a purpose. We have to let some things in our lives die so that God can do a work in us.

Don’t be afraid to endure death in order to experience resurrection. God has a plan for you, my friend. It’s good because He is good and it ends in freedom.

You are loved. ❤

On a Mission

IMG_7132

Jesus sent the disciples on a mission and His instructions were very clear.

Heal the sick.

Raise the dead.

Cleanse lepers.

Cast out demons.

Yet, just a short time after departing on their journey, they encounter a man with a sick son. And the result is puzzling.

I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit but they could not. Luke 9:40

I brought him to your disciples but they could not heal him. Matthew 17:16

Even the disciples are confused. “Why couldn’t we do it?” they asked Jesus. The answer was just as simple as the mission.

Because of their little faith.

A lack of faith will prevent us from fulfilling our God-given missions. Our ministries will be unfruitful. Our witnesses will be ineffective. Our spirits will be unsatisfied.

What is God calling you to do?

You are loved. ❤

What’s Your Story?

Just a couple days ago, we read about Jesus sending disciples to John in prison to tell what they had seen Jesus do and what they had heard Him say.

In today’s reading, we have Jesus telling the healed man to “go home and tell your friends what the Lord has done for you.”

We also have the woman in Luke 8 who wanted to slip away after her healing. Jesus, however, wouldn’t move on until she came forward and told her story.

Have you ever struggled with telling your testimony? Ever wondered what that even means? Think your story isn’t interesting enough or, perhaps, too interesting? Those are all thoughts from the enemy trying to keep you silent. Someone else needs to hear your story!

Luke 8:47 is a great outline for telling your own story. (Why she had touched Him and how He healed her.)

History + Healing = Testimony