Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Little Flash Back to First Grade

Remember with me. Go back as far as you need to. Don't be afraid, just go there for a moment!

Yes, back to whatever "First Grade" looked like in your world. I know, we probably could visit any number of "grades" but that's just the one I chose because it was a very memorable grade in my story for a number of reasons. It doesn't matter if you were in a one-room schoolhouse, went to public school, or if you were home-schooled. Just go back to that first year. 

Everything that teacher planned for me during that year was simply "training" me to go to the next grade. I walked into First Grade with some knowledge and life experiences; but there was more to learn. I knew my ABC's, but I had to learn to put all those together to form words. I knew my numbers, but I had to learn how to stack them on top of each other and add or "take away." I knew about relationships, but there was more to be learned both in the classroom setting and on the ever menacing, merry-go-round on the playground. Well, I'm glad to tell you, if you must know, that it wasn't a cakewalk, but I made it to second grade. And beyond.

Maybe you have your own horrific flashbacks when you go back there; that's alright. Learning is a scary thing sometimes, right? We all have stories of the bully in the hallway or the words that broke more than sticks and stones ever could have harmed. We'll not even mention those failed tests, or grades for that matter. For those of you who loved first grade, I'm certain there was another grade you can look back at and reminisce with me there. Whatever the case, I'm finding that at 44-years-old, I'm still in training for the next level. 

There are still things to learn. I do things wrong (unintentionally, of course) and the Lord takes me through situations to teach me. He's the best teacher ever too! There are things I learn the wrong way and He has to take me back to the wheel and "learn me" all over again the right way. Been there, have you? Oh, it hurts so badly at times and it can be an ever-so-confusing time too. Yet, learning is a way of life. I think it's safe to say that if we're not learning, then we're not truly living. I'm thinking about that phrase about "learning something new every day." It's so true!

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have all the answers. Neither do I do everything right every time. No, I don't make a 100% on every assignment handed out by the Teacher. Yes, I see those dreadful red "X's" on my test and I shudder in disappointment and want to run and hide out. Yet, my Teacher...He knows that I must learn to lay aside some things and focus on others, He knows if I'm going to be a fruitful, successful, Christian who represents Him well, I must have my own share of hard-knocks and blows from the dreadful bully (and I must learn to respond well), and He knows I'll want to give up if He isn't there to console me and be there for me to lean upon. Talk about "Teacher of the Year"!

 Psalms 32:8 says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."

God is a patient teacher and is not willing to let us walk around in life without learning important lessons. He's not content to leave one of His "students" behind. He teaches us, tests us, and if need be, He tests us again and again until we pass the test. He keeps His eye upon our progress. He watches us and is invested in being sure we are learning it the right way. He wants to see us make it to the next level - and ultimately eternity with Him. Those red marks on the text are there to remind us of His investment...His blood on Calvary...they are there to remind us of His grace and mercy. We can pass the tests set before us!

So, if you're feeling the effects of "time-travel", remembering situations where you felt like giving up, classes where it felt you were anything but the Teacher's Pet, during those times of failing and detention and maybe even being paddled by the principal, it's OK. All of those times brought you to where you are today. You've learned along the way. That's what counts! And...if you're failing in the class of life right now, as an adult, remember our Lord is a gracious teacher. Yes, He chastises those He loves, but He doesn't leave us there...the object is to learn or re-learn it well so we can graduate to the next level. With honors! 

It's true, we live from glory to glory. Don't give up. Let's all get ready to celebrate in the grandest Graduation Ceremonies ever...it won't be long now till we be celebrating those lessons learned - in robes of white, walking down streets of gold. What a celebration, my friend!!! Let's do this~

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

For Those In the Vicinity

I lay in my bed, mind rambling here, there and everywhere. If my body isn't in shape, my mind should sure be fat-free as much as it exercises. (I know, a little of my "special humor" for ya!) OK, back to my think-tank time.

The story of Lazarus has been on my mind for the least several days. We know the miracle. The disappointment of Mary and Martha at Jesus not getting there quick enough. (I'm sure we can all relate to that. How many times have we deemed the God of the universe to be "late" in our opinions? If only He were on our time-frame.) We know Jesus lagged His feet for a few days and Lazarus was "stinketh-ing" (according to Martha) by the time they rolled the stone away. Jesus called out to him and the dead man came bouncing out in his burial clothes. What a miracle!

The thing that struck me, that left me in awe, was the idea that Lazarus had absolutely NOTHING to do with the situation. He was merely a pawn in the story. He was dead. 

The miracle was performed for those in the vicinity. 

The onlookers. The over-hearers. The people who heard Lazarus was sick. The neighbors and friends. Jews who were busy comforting the sisters during their time of grief. Yes, probably even the nosy, busy bodies just standing around waiting for a chance to spread the word ("gossip" - put nicely) to the Pharisees and chief priests. The miracle was performed for these people! You see, Jesus could have easily just spoken the word when He first found out about it, while He was still in another town, but He purposefully chose not to...for the good of those in the vicinity.

Need proof? 

In John 14:42, Jesus prayed saying, "...but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." He did it so that others who were watching on would believe.

Again in John 14:45, the Bible says, "Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him."

The next chapter summed it all up, John 12:11, "Because that by reason of him (Lazarus) many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus." 

I believe maybe sometimes we see our "trials" in the context of something we did or didn't do, about God exposing something hidden in our lives, etc; and maybe sometimes this is true. However, maybe it's not about us at all sometimes, but about those in the vicinity.

From a personal vantage point, I watched two dear friends who were suddenly and involuntarily thrown into seasons of house-hunting. While I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they were each affected, their situations had an affect on me too. These situations forced me to take a deep look at what I believed about trusting God. Each of these friends circumstance turned out a little bit differently, and not exactly how I'd petitioned God at all, which caused me to take a deeper look at God's sovereign plans. Another friend went through a traumatic time in her life and it made me question God's timing and what is most important to me, God's will or my own. (Yes, I know without a doubt the answer to that question. Just in case you're wondering.) Recently, a transmission issue in my car while I was on a road-trip was followed up by a miracle which left my friends and family (not to mention myself) encouraged at the provision and all-powerful ability of God to supply our every need.

What I'm saying is that I believe sometimes God delays things, and works miracles on our behalf, sends us through the fire, and turns our situations and lives around - not only for us, but for the sake of those in the vicinity. That, as others peek in on our lives and watch how our circumstances develop, somehow their beliefs in God, their trust issues with the Master, are somehow altered and strengthened. It just might have nothing to do with anything we're doing or not doing. Just simply so that someone else might be encouraged or believe. 

How simple, yet complex, is that, my friend?!

Let's share our stories, testify, cheer each other on, and realize that God works in ways which are far beyond our wildest imaginations. "It makes no sense, people!", is alright. While we're going through life's "bad stuff" let's remember that God might be using it to help someone else along the way. Pastor always says God doesn't put us through something without going ahead of us and preparing the way. We're not alone, we can make it, and there's a cheering section in Heaven roaring loudly for us...even as we bounce out of the grave wrapped in burial clothes. Yet, the real miracle just might be for those in the vicinity. Be encouraged today~

Friday, August 4, 2017

Little Pot Syndrome

So, my dear hubby decided to surprise me with roses a couple months ago. Isn't he a sweetie? However, instead of buying me cut roses, which would fade away in a week or so, he brought me a miniature rose bush - so "they wouldn't die." I'm sure you know the type, a cute little rose bush, snuggled safely in a small throw-away container. It's meant to be planted.

Well, all this time (I'm in a brown-thumb season!) and I've still not found a place to plant it. It's sitting on the banister of my front porch...struggling to survive this hot, Georgia heat. You see, this little bush wasn't intended to stay confined to a pot. It has so much more potential than what I'm allowing it. *Sigh*

I was thinking about myself, and you. Sometimes we wonder why we're not reaching our purpose and potential. Why we're miserable in life. We have greatness inside us, God has great plans for us too, but we're struggling to survive. Why is that?

While I'm sure there are many reasons, don't you think one reason might be because sometimes we're afraid of change? We're used to this "little pot" we're in, the way we've been doing things, yet we continue, struggling to thrive in what we consider the safe confines of our comfort zone. We're not intended to be in a pot.

We each have been created according to a plan, carefully and skillfully drafted by God - before we were ever conceived:

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

We'll never be completely satisfied and fully thriving until we are doing that work (purpose) He instilled within us to do from the very beginning. 

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

It's not always going to be easy, we come into this world as babes, but we grow, fall, we change, and we move on. We don't stay confined to a pot. It's crippling! 

It's the same way in our spiritual walk. God has things only we can do. It requires us getting out of our comfort zone and taking what may seem and feel like a huge risk on our part. The truth is, as I'm finding out is the case many times, is what we feel isn't really that at all. God wants to nudge us out of our pot and into action fulfilling His purpose. 

"What's the answer?" you might say. I'd look at you, with my own set of yet-unconquered fears and say, "Give up the pot." 

Give up our safety. Our comfort. Our desires. Be willing to step out, to move from where we are - even when we're a little bit (or a whole lot) afraid of what might happen next and even if it feels a little (or a whole lot) yucky or messy at the moment. Even my tiny rose bush will have to acclimate to it's new spot. We will too! 

Scary? Maybe so. Worth it? Certainly!!! Every time. God has never had a plan that failed. He is a Master Designer and knows every ounce of potential you have inside you (and me) because He put it there. You didn't arrive on the scene with certain gifts and talents just because. He put them there for us to fulfill His purpose in our lives and without moving in that direction, we'll continually struggle to live life abundantly and flourish. Let's not be content to stay in the pot when we can be so much more. 

If you find yourself struggling, be sure you're not stifled by your own will and being contained to a container that's too small for the purpose which God intended for you. Join me in breaking free from the "safety" of our little pots. There's more to life than our own little spheres. God intends for us to spread our roots and connect so we can be fruitful and effective for His glory and honor. 

Now, I've got a rose bush to get out of a pot. Who will join me?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Brain Fog, Truth & Promises

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise..." II Peter 3:9

Shout out to all the wonderful people who have issues with "foggy brains" today. Bless your (our) hearts! Isn't God good anyhow!?

More often now than ever, I have those moments when my brain just won't catch up, catch on or catch anything for that matter. Those days when I feel like a complete goofball when asked a question, put on the spot or have to remember an important number. Debit card number. Huh? Phone number. Umm... Anybody else out there brave enough to admit there are times when those common place numbers and names escape your field of grasping? Lol  (I'm learning that it's much easier to just stop and laugh at myself than to get upset. That makes it worse!)

Anyhow, enough of that.

I lay in my bed with my eyes closed this morning, asking God, "Remind me of the promises you've made me. Tell me one more time again about myself in Your eyes. I need help remembering today." Don't we all suffer from the occasional "forgot who I am" moments?

Suddenly, I was humming the tune to an old song I remember singing as a child:

Roll back the curtains of memory now and then
Show me where you've brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember, I'm human and humans forget
So remind me, remind me, dear Lord

Wow! That was waaaaaaay back there...but today I was reminded again. Maybe God did it. I think sometimes we just need to be reminded of the TRUTHS life can cause us to temporarily forget. They supply us with hope and ignite our faith (and memory) once again.

Who & Whose we are.
What we've been promised.
What He's capable of.

I don't think there are more important things to remember than those. Those facts are much more important than my phone number or alarm code. While I'm definitely NOT an expert in this field, nor do I have this "concept" working to perfection in my life, I think it's something worth thinking about. They affect our lives on so many levels. From spiritual to emotional and even relational. How can we be productive and victorious in life when these truths and what we've been promised get clouded from our view?

Remind me, God.

If you've forgotten some of those important promises of God, if you've lost the sense of who you are, your purpose, or maybe even Whose you are. Let this post serve to jog your memory. The Bible is full of instances to remind us, stories of others who have forgotten also, and promises that will refresh our hearts, souls...and minds. If you're a friend to someone who has lost their way, take a moment to remind them of things/promises they might have forgotten and about who they are. You might just be the match that brings light and clarity into their darkness once again.

As I lay in my bed, with my eyes shut, waiting on God...He began to drop a few promises into my heart that I'd forgotten. He reminded me of some important information that I'd allowed to get stuck near the back of the filing cabinet of my soul. (Promise. Purpose. Shouldn't be stuck behind the "Z" file people!) Later, I was reading a text I had received earlier in the week...and once again God jogged my memory. Oh, how do I allow these things to be forgotten?! Oh, yeah, back to the song lyrics...I'm human, and humans forget.

Truth is still truth, promises are still in tact, God is still God and we are still who and what He says we are...even when we have a temporary brain lapse. 

Just because...we all need reminders on those forgetful, foggy-brain days and those days when life can get somewhat overwhelming. Be encouraged today~

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Race

Run the race
No matter the ride
Strive each day
To win the prize
No matter what is seems
Keep walking - even limping
The victory will come
If you just keep on - winning
Day by day
Moment by moment
Don't quit, don't give up
He's holding you - your Father
Don't be discouraged
The race is almost over
Get up
Arrive a conqueror

"I press toward the mark for the prize 
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:14 

It's On the Table

I've spoken a lot about the "messy" parts of life...you know, the ugly parts we can't seem to escape from quickly enough, the parts we don't scrapbook or post to Facebook or Instagram. The parts that aren't Pinterest pretty! We've agreed that each and every one of us have those awful-feeling days and moments in our lives - yet they probably look different for each of us.

I was reading today, one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible and one verse poked at me really hard, Psalm 23:5 -

"Thou preparest a table before me 
in the presence of mine enemies:"

What?! The word "enemies" here translates to being cramped, be in affliction, to be in distress, to be in trouble, vexed...I had never looked at it that way before today. It wasn't necessarily someone who was provoking me. 

I thought about how my mind, emotions and feelings play tricks and get the best of me at times. Yes, God is working on this with me - daily. When they aren't "for" me, they're against me...thus, I think it safe to say I can label them as enemies. 

When these things (thoughts, emotions and feelings) get off track, as they often do, life can feel mighty messy. However, I can still take rest in knowing that even in those moments of shifted focus and weakness, God prepares a table for me. I can be at peace even when everything within me is screaming, "This isn't a time for peace. I don't like this season! Everything is crazy and upsetting!" Yet, I know my God. 

Although at times I forget and become blinded to this truth, He can do anything, whenever He gets ready. So, preparing a table for me to sit down at and get exactly what I need to be victorious isn't a problem for Him. Goodness, if I can just remember that! Everything I could ever need, He supplies. It's on the table!

Who prepares a meal for someone without sitting to enjoy it with them? When I prepare a meal for my friends and family, I want to sit with them, to enjoy the time together, as well as the food. I want them to feel safe and to stop everything else and just be present. I think God longs to do the same thing with you and I. 

During messy parts of life, He beckons you and I to get our eyes off of our "enemies" and join Him at the feast He's prepared in our honor. A safe place too. Truth is, sometimes I fail to look beyond my situations and circumstances. Anyone else have a problem with that? True statement though: one thing God won't do is MAKE us sit at the table, we have a standing invitation though.

The banquet room is always ready...there we can find peace and safety - even in the midst of our enemies. He longs for us to sit and share what we're feeling with Him; for us to cast our cares upon Him. There's always a seat there with my name on it! Yours too. This table is a place of refuge. Of relationship. Of healing. Whatever we have need of, it's on the table.

Let's pull up a chair today, forget about the "messy" that makes us feel weak and brings confusion and lack of focus into our lives. Our enemies have no reservations at this table! What a blessing.

Let's enjoy peace, rest and all the goodness God longs to share with us. I invite you to join me as we look into His eyes and receive rest for our wearied souls. Hope. Everything we need, we can find in Him. Our enemies aren't welcome, my friend, but everything we have need of...it's on the table.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of this world
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Friday, July 21, 2017

It Can't Stay Forever

We're all in one, a season. They are inevitable and perpetual. Spring, summer, winter fall...spring, summer...catch my drift here? Never-ending. 

Wasn't God kind to create this world with variety? I love the spring, when flowers pop nervously out of the ground to greet us with bright, colorful smiles after a bleak, harshly-cold winter. My favorite season is fall, when the fiery hues are vibrant and the leaves crinkle loudly under my boots. And...there's summer. That's all I'm going to say about that! Seasons. Although we each have our favorites, aren't we thankful that we don't get stuck with just one?

Yes, we're all affected by seasons in "life" too. Some of us experience empty nest season while others have rambunctious toddlers, brimming over with energy, running throughout our homes. Still, others have tweens and teens who are in the closing years of their adolescence. Some of us are in a long stretch of marriage (for me it will be twenty-six years this next week), while others are just beginning and are in the "newly wed" stage trying to figure it all out. 

Seasons...you may know exactly what you're doing and where you're headed in life, while I am filled with much uncertainty. You may have conquered all sorts of tests and trials while a friend may be floundering trying to figure it all out yet. A co-worker might be experiencing extreme health issues while you're in a healthy period of life. One person may be fretting about the lack of security and peace of mind that comes with having a place to call home, while another might be settled securely into their place of safety. We're all in seasons. I don't mean to drag on and on, but do you see what I'm saying? I hope so.

No matter where we find ourselves today...there is HOPE. That thread we're all so desperately trying to hold on to. THIS SEASON won't last always, my friend, remember the phrase, "this too shall pass"? Today, I'm thinking of one verse in particular:

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

When we wait and "keep on keeping on" no matter what life brings our way or what season we find ourselves in...we SHALL...girls, it's going to happen!!!

We SHALL renew our strength...
when we've experienced weakness and hopelessness.
We SHALL mount up...
when we've been down and in the depths of despair.
We SHALL run...
when we've wanted to break down and hide.
We SHALL walk and not faint...
when we've felt like giving up and throwing in the towel.

Wherever we find ourselves, the Lord SHALL ________. You fill in the blank with your situation or need...whatever your season. 

Whether it be strength, health, finances, restoration, peace, security, etc.; we can be assured that in His time...HE SHALL. This season won't last always! 

If it seems unbearable, if you feel you're about to break under the heavy load, if you're discouraged today or if it feels like you're missing out while others are carrying on...hang in there. We're all in different seasons. Your season hasn't come to stay...it can't. He sees. He knows. We're not alone or on our own. 

Repeat it with me today...HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS! It can't stay forever.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How Great Thou Art

This week, my hubby took me on a surprise excursion. What fun! The road led us past corn fields, grassy meadows and into the foot of the mountains. I love nature. I am amazed at the creativity of my God and sometimes wonder how exciting it might have been to be there in the beginning when He spoke it all into existence.

Standing across the way, I took it all in from a viewing deck. I stood speechless at the awesomeness of another one of God's creations we'd just discovered. Little River Falls. 

The falls roared so loudly...I thought about the strength of the waters cascading over the rocks. I thought about the tumbling of the current at the bottom of the falls where it all came crashing together. I noticed the quiet, softness of mist rising through the air as the warm, sun rays made it sparkle like bits of glitter scattered about here and there. 

I thought about the Lord. How He is the strongest force to be reckoned with - hands down. Almighty! I thought about how He is also such a compassionate shepherd. Gentle. 

We traveled up the mountain a bit more and stopped at one of the overlooks. The same falls but from a much different vantage point. I couldn't hear the roar or feel the cool mist but it's beauty was still undeniable and again I stood in awe. 

Standing there, taking it all in, I sent a whisper heaven-ward, "How great Thou art!" Nothing can match or even compare to the greatness of my Lord. Absolutely amazing! I can only imagine how David must have felt when he penned the words:

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;"  Psalms 8:3

He is the Almighty. Yet, He created such intricate details for us to enjoy. It wasn't enough to give us a world to live in, He made sure we'd be awed by it. Isn't that just like my God! He went to the "nth" to show us, just a little bit clearer, of how much His heart passionately cares for us. 

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" Ps. 8:4

The same great, big, amazing God that created this masterpiece I was enjoying created you and I. Us! Weak, frail, limited human beings. We're sinful, we doubt and question His ways far too often. Yet, He thinks of us constantly and loves us beyond our wildest imagination. And...wait for it...He desires relationship with us! 

This great, big, awesome God, wants you and I to remember we're the works of His hands too. He created this beautiful world, filled with sites like Little River Falls, for us to live in and enjoy, but He created us for His dwelling! What?! I cannot begin to fathom that!

Simply in awe today...the only reply and praise I have in my soul is this: I am so deeply humbled by the opportunity to be His dwelling place; my heart shouts loudly from the hills...Oh God, how very great Thou art!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Only Me - Part 2

It's  been over a month since I posted I'm the Only Me You Get. Life gets busy, life happens, and it can be like a roller coaster at times. With a grimace on my face, I read the title of my last post once again today. The thought was certainly accurate, yet I've been feeling much differently since then. Why? Because my FEELINGS are sometimes way bigger than the truth! I know, it's not supposed to be that way. They cast shadows on what I know to be true. Still, although I know this, my perception can get cloudy at times. You too? Sometimes it's easier to write something like Poor You, If I'm the Only Me You Get.

I'm afraid I'm not the only "feel-ist" who deals with ugly episodes of lies and tricks. How can I be so sure? First, most of us reading this post are probably females. Secondly, we will all experience times when we're feeling  insecure and weak. Thirdly, we go through different seasons spiritually, as well as, physically. Sometimes those seasons leave even the strongest ladies feeling unable to cope on every level. Key word: FEELING. Wonder Woman? Not I!

Ladies are "feelers" and if we're not constantly on guard, we'll get tripped up by the exact characteristic God intended to be one of our strengths. Yet, which one of us diligently keeps our guard up all the seconds in every day? I'll be honest, I fail miserably at times...feelings win. Then, the lies and savvy tricks overwhelm me. What, you too?  I look at myself and think, "Girl, you did it now! How'd that happen?" In those moments it would be easy to give up. "What's the use?"

I read something the other day that spoke to my soul. "You'll never hear God say you're more trouble than you're worth."

Even when we're weak and feel like a failure, when we feel we can't hold the shield up for one more second, when we think it's over and we've lost the battle...God still stands guard. He is still the Victor and He's not afraid of our feelings. Most importantly, He'll never say, or think, we're not worth the fight.

There are moments in all our lives when we're ready to give up on ourselves. There are paths we walk that will test our stamina and our determination. There will be days when we have to ignore what we're feeling. Though we may fall, He will pick us up - again and again. We learn and grow. In those character-building moments, the Lord holds us and gently teaches us to trust, rest and hope in Him. The valley is never a waste when you have the Champion on your side!

No matter how we  may be feeling today, where we might find ourselves on this pathway, we can be hopeful. It's OK to feel weak, to need help, to need bandages for skinned-up knees at times. It's completely alright not to feel like Wonder Woman, or ourself for that matter. Feelings don't always tell us the truth, but God does. He says we are His. We are special, strong and brave...and we have what it takes to overcome...in Him. We can lift our heads and proclaim, I'm not my feelings! I'm more than a conqueror...and the only me you get."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I'm the Only Me You Get

First, I must admit that I'm very picky when it comes to shoes; very rarely do I find a pair that I like enough to purchase. Even on "good feet" days, my favorite shoes are flip-flops! I think they should be acceptable shoes for all occasions. OK, I know, they're not. 

Here's my situation: My foot and heel has been so irritated the last couple weeks (plantar fasciitis with a heel spur) that I have had trouble wearing any shoes, so my hubby graciously took a half-day off of work and so we could go shoe shopping. Isn't he a keeper!?

Anyhow, after browsing through multiple shoe stores, pressing down on the heel pads, inspecting for perfect arch support, and trying on several pairs I thought might be "IT", we ended our shopping day without success. I did enjoy my time with my wonderful hubby though and I suppose flip-flops (or bare feet) will be my option for the moment.

While I was shoe shopping, I kept thinking, "I needed shoes specifically designed for my foot shape. Not a generic pair of shoes from a plain, ordinary, rectangular box that is supposed to fit most any foot that is shoved into it." NO! I needed to be Cinderella...I needed something that would be a perfect fit. Just the right arch height and support, the perfect amount of cushion on the heel, not too tight, etc. You know, a perfect fit!

Later on, I was thinking about all those shoes and about how God specifically created each of us with different abilities, talents and traits. We're each suited for a specific purpose that only we can fill. That's right, each one of us are intended to do something that only we can do, we have a purpose that only we can fulfill, and God planned it and made us uniquely on purpose. Yeah, that's a lot of "purpose."

I'm the only ME you get. And you are the only YOU we get. 

"...called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, 
but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began..."  II Timothy 1:9

God doesn't work with one-size-fits-all projects. It's true, He specifically designed us, from our mother's womb, to be a perfect fit for the job, purpose, or calling that He has anticipated for us to do. He has instilled within us all we need to fulfill His plan - we have a "holy calling." It's not actually about us, it's not about our plan; we're a perfect fit for His plan. I'm the only me He made. There are no duplicates. Nobody else can fill that hole.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:10

While it might sound a bit arrogant or confident (whichever way you might choose to view it), and maybe repetitive, please understand it from this perspective:

Shoes...they're replaceable. We're not. 

Shoe designers try to imagine what people will like and search for in a good shoe. God already knew, designed and fashioned us exactly how He anticipated us to perfectly fulfill His purpose. 

While we may change throughout our life time, God's doesn't change His mind about His purpose for my (and your) life - it is unchanging. I am not replaceable. What if we lived our lives boldly for the Lord with that thought in our minds? "I'm the only "me" this world gets! Lord, help me be effective and fulfill your purpose."

It might be difficult to find a shoe to fit properly, but we can hold our head up and know that we fit the plan of God perfectly, because He does all things well. Our shoes might not fit without cramping our toes, but we can be confident in knowing He made us and has worked within us so we will fit perfectly into His plan and fulfill His purpose. 

I might walk into 100 shoe stores in search of the perfect shoe, and walk out empty-handed, reverting to my favorite pair of flip-flops; but without a doubt I can be OK with that, because I know shoes are replaceable. Yet God always gets it right the first time.

Join me today! Dare we say it? Or believe it? YES!!! Let's settle it in our mind that God has a plan for our lives. Let's remind and encourage each other that we're designed for a Holy plan - to be all we can be and use everything He's instilled in us for His glory. Let's make up our mind to give our all and not settle for the flip-flop mentality.

Somebody say it with me, "I'm the only me you get."